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Top ten tips for finding a builder who’s right for you

You require a builder who will conduct themselves appropriately and produce an exceptional standard of work. We want you to receive good value for your money and are here to help you protect your home, and pocket. To help you in your search for the perfect builder, we have prepared a simple checklist for you to follow:

1 Start your search for a good builder - by getting a referral from family or friends who have recently had some work done. Ask the builder how long they have been trading and what experience they have in the work you need completing.

2 Do not be fooled by the badge - Under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 it states that it is an offence for a company or individual to falsely claim affiliations or connections, including those to trade associations.  There have been a substantial number of cases of bogus builders fraudulently claiming membership of official trade associations, so call and make sure they are a bona fide member.

3 Get references - then check and even visit them. Contact the people who provided the references and find out how happy they were with the quality of the workmanship and the builder’s conduct.

4 Once you have a shortlist of builders, obtain quotations - get full details in writing of what is covered and what is not. This should include site maintenance, clearance, material supplies etc. Ask for confirmation as to whether planning permission is required and if they will need to apply for Building Regulations approval.

5 Avoid a ‘VAT-free’ deal - you will not have a valid contract if there is no proof of payment.

6 Put details of the job down in writing - the more thorough, the better. Your contract should outline what work is to be done, start/completion dates, security, safety, the cost of the work and materials, payment plans, catering and lavatory arrangements,
hours of work, cleaning up and the disposal of waste materials.

7 Be straight about money - with your builder and agree payment terms clearly in writing.

8 Avoid paying upfront or a cash deposit - it should not be needed unless you request specialist building materials or the job is likely to take a long time to complete.

9 Guarantees – are they offering a guarantee on a large scale job? If it is a new build you will need a guarantee on the property.

10 Ask if the builder is insured – they should have cover to protect themselves against property damage and personal and public liability to protect you and the general public in the event of accident or injury.