We've put together some tips on finding and employing a builder to repair your home.
Finding a builder
Ask neighbours, friends and family to recommend building firms who've done work for them.
Visit websites that help find a builder, which generally include feedback comments from people who've used the builder to repair their home.
Talk to a tradesman who you've used before; even if they don't do the type of work you need, they can often put you in touch with tradesman that they've worked with.
Get more than one quote to compare prices.
Useful things to do before you agree to employ a builder
Ask whether the work is covered by a guarantee, this may be provided by the builder themselves or they provide an insurance-backed warranty.
Write down what you want done, which can include detailed drawings, such as those submitted for planning and Building Regulations approval. Make enough copies to send a full set to each builder you ask to quote for the work.
Make sure the builders' quotes cover everything you'd like done, including supply of materials, removal of rubbish and 'making good' after the work is finished.
Make sure the builder has the appropriate level of public liability insurance for the work to be done at your home.
Make sure they have an office/home address and a telephone number.
Get a written specification and estimate.
If the repairs are over £25,000, consider using a JCT contract, which details the extent of the work to be done in return for the agreed price - in addition to recording any extras not yet agreed - is a useful point of reference in the event of any dispute. For more information look at jctltd.co.uk.
If you’re a customer and looking to make a claim, don't forget you need to let us know you're having building work done before it starts.
Paying for the repairs
Deposits may be required if custom-made materials are required or where the project will take a long time to complete.
Never pay upfront - avoid paying labour costs before the work is carried out. However, you should be willing to fund large material items yourself before the work starts.
Agree any stage and final payments before work starts.
Pay on time - if you're happy with the work carried out, pay promptly at each stage.
Paying VAT - if VAT is being charged, make sure there is a VAT number shown.
Who to consult if things go wrong
If you need further advice, depending on the problem you can consult: