The Communities Minister Andrew Stunell has announced that new measures are being put in place to help protect homeowners from cowboy builders.
Under the new rulings, self-check installers will need to meet sufficiently higher standards with homeowners requiring a guarantee or insurance from builders in case work isn’t finished or not to a certain standard.
According to a report from the Office of Fair Trading, there are around 85,000 complaints every year about building work from customers.
Concerned by such figures, Stunell claimed by raising the standards of self-check tradesmen, it would make it easier for customers to differenciate from competent workers and those looking to con their clients.
While these measures may go some way to deterring a number of cowboy builders, there’s no guarantee that these conmen will put a halt to their shoddy workmanship.
So, how exactly would you spot a cowboy builder?
This article will aim to give you a few vital tips to avoid being manipulated by one of these deceptive services.
The best way to check on the quality and validity of a builder’s services is to get personal recommendations from friends or family. Do they get the job done in a reasonable time-frame? Are they value for money?
If the builder hasn’t been used by any of your friends or family in the past, don’t be afraid to ask for numbers of previous clients who could give you an insight into the quality of work provided by the tradesman.
Check for professional accreditation
Before accepting to take on work from a builder, it is essential to make sure they are a member of a professional building agency. The two main societies that should give you confidence are the NHBC (National House Builders Council) and the FMB (Federation of Master Builders).
However, it has been known for rogue traders to use fake IDs so always double check with the respective associations that they are legitimate members.
Ask for written confirmation
It is vitally important that before any work is undertaken you get printed confirmation (not handwritten) from your builder. This should detail the contract being put in place along with the price and type of work.
Beware of paying upfront
You should always be extremely wary of a tradesman if you are asked to pay for the work upfront. If they claim that money is needed for materials then buy them yourself to ensure that the goods are your property.
About the Author: Matthew Wood is a freelance writer, online marketer and SEO consultant. Matthew writes for many online publications, as well as developing content and articles for a variety of well-established websites. His latest project is writing informative articles on the subject of Formwork for the reputable online agency Unit Plant Services.