Choosing Your Builder
“Rogue builders” although in the minority definitely give the construction industry a bad name and hardly a week goes by without there being yet another TV program about the so called “Builders from Hell”. With the help of hidden cameras these “Rogue Builders” are exposed in front of millions of viewers when they blatantly try to cheat customers out of their hard earned cash.
So how can you protect yourself from these unsavory characters who unscrupulously rip off unsuspecting members of the public? The following are some helpful suggestions to consider before hiring a builder.
1. Always ask for references and details of previous jobs. Go to see these jobs wherever possible. A good builder will be only too pleased to show you evidence of his expertise.
2. Be wary if they offer ‘cheap deals’ for “cash-in hand” jobs or suggest you can avoid paying VAT for cash.
3. If they do not want to commit themselves to a written contract they should be avoided like the plague.
4. If they say they can start immediately be wary, as a good builder is usually busy.
5. If they give you a surprisingly low quote you should treat this with suspicion.
6. If they seem reluctant to look at plans or to discuss the details this should also set off alarm bells.
7. If they can only be reached by mobile phone and are reluctant to divulge where they live then this should be seen as a red flag.
8. If they try to baffle you with complicated explanations when asked seemingly simple questions they may be graduates of the “If you can’t convince em confuse em” school of builders and you know that it may not be in your best interests to employ them.
9. If they say they are a member of a trade association, make sure to check it out as anybody can say they are a member when in fact they are not.
10. Get at least three written quotations from various builders and be very specific about what you want done.Leave very little room for misunderstanding and this will pay dividends further down the line.
11. Now is the time to clarify everything and make sure that no gray areas exist especially regarding payments and when they should be made.
12. If any problems arise during the building work sort it out with your builder straight away and make sure he fully understands your instructions.
If the above guidelines are adhered to then there is no reason why the build should not be painless and trouble free.