Rogue traders can be the blight of many a home improvement project and we’re all familiar with the term ‘cowboy builders’. However, you need not fall victim to a rogue trader if you’re having a home extension installed and by following a few careful steps, you can ensure peace of mind by being as certain as you possibly can be that the individual or company that you decide to hire to do the job, has the required skills and is highly reputable. If you neglect doing this, however, you could end up losing a lot of money.
Do Your Research About The Builder Or Company
There are many ways you can carry out research into the reputation of a builder. Many of them these days have their own websites and if they are professional and ethical in their business dealings, they’re likely to also be a member of the Federation of Master Builders. You can always contact this organisation to confirm this. Many rogue traders will claim to be a member of a professional trade body but you should never take their word for that.
Getting Quotes From The Builder
It’s a competitive market out there so you should always get a written quote from perhaps 3 or 4 individuals or companies. Don’t be fobbed off by any builder who tells you that it’s likely to cost “about so much”. Make sure you have a proper accurate, fixed quote.
Asking For References
A competent builder will be proud of their professional approach to their work and will have no problem in providing you with references of similar home extension projects they’ve carried out previously. Once again, however, written references can be falsely manipulated as can phone conversations with previous customers. For example, who is to say that the person on the end of the phone is actually a previous customer – it could be the builder’s wife or a friend? The best way to go about obtaining a reference for a builder is to ask them if they have carried out similar work close to where you live and ask them to put you in contact with the customer. Quite often, the customer will be only too happy to invite you around to see their own extension if they are pleased with it. During the conversation, you should feel free to ask them any relevant questions as to the professionalism of the builder.
Drawing Up A Contract
Once you have carried out all of the above and are satisfied that you know the individual or company is not a rogue trader, it’s time to draw up a mutually agreed contract. The contract should include the agreed fixed cost and the date when the work is going to commence. It should also stipulate a date by which the builder plans to complete the work and many reputable builders will compensate you if they fail to hit the agreed deadline although that is something you’ll need to discuss prior to commencement. The contract should also include things such as any monitoring/review of progress at each stage of the completion you may want to carry out and the likes of access to your home’s bathroom and kitchen facilities and other issues that you may wish to address such as no smoking in the house and also who’s responsible for clearing the rubble and whether or not that’s included in the final costing.
Keep Things Clear And Simple
To avoid becoming a victim of a rogue trader in the building industry, it’s important that both sides know exactly what is expected from the other and if anything’s unclear on either side, make sure you establish clarity before the work commences as any misunderstandings could cost you a lot of money later. Finally, the builder is only ever as good as the instructions they receive so make sure you have professional drawings and plans along with any photographs as there have been many instances of perfectly reputable builders installing something entirely different to the customer’s specifications because their instructions were not made clear enough.