Cowboy Builders - How to avoid
How do you deal with cowboy builders in Nottingham?
To ensure that you don’t become a victim of cowboy builders, it is important to take the necessary precautions when hiring someone to work on your home or property. Here are some tips and steps you can follow:
1. Research – Make sure to look into the builder's credentials and ask for references from past customers. Check their qualifications and any memberships they may have with relevant trade associations like the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
2. Get a quote in writing – Ask potential contractors for written quotes rather than just verbal estimates, so you know exactly what price you will be expected to pay at the end of the job. The quote should include an itemised list of materials and labour costs as well as a timeline for when work should be completed.
3. Have clear boundaries – It's important to set out the ground rules at the start of your project so that everyone is on the same page. Discuss what tasks will be completed, who will provide materials, and how payment should be made before any work begins.
4. Keep communication open – Regularly talk with your contractor and make sure you are both clear about progress and any unforeseen issues that arise. If possible, visit the site regularly to check on their progress and ensure expectations are being met.
5. Protect yourself – Always take out appropriate insurance cover to protect against potential damage to property or injury during the course of the works. Also, ensure that you have a written contract outlining the terms of the agreement and that all works are completed to a satisfactory standard.
6. Take action – If you encounter a cowboy builder, it is advisable to take legal action to try and recoup any losses or repair costs incurred. Make sure you keep copies of all invoices and receipts as evidence, as well as photographic proof of any damage caused. An ombudsman can also be contacted if the contractor’s work falls below an acceptable standard.
7. Spread the word – A good way to protect yourself against cowboy builders is to spread awareness amongst family, friends, and colleagues in your local area by both warning them about possible scams and sharing positive experiences with reliable contractors who have done a good job for you in the past.
8. Seek advice from experts – If all else fails, it is also possible to seek out professional help from a qualified surveyor or building inspector who can offer you an independent and impartial opinion on the quality of work done by your contractor. They will be able to advise you on what legal action can be taken if necessary.
9. Check public reviews - Before hiring any contractors, check online reviews and ratings which can give you insight into their reputation and the level of service they provide. Doing your due diligence in this way can help to avoid falling victim to rogue traders or cowboy builders.
10. Use trusted sources - Get contact details for reliable companies through trusted sources like friends, family contacts, or industry websites such as Checkatrade.co.uk or Ratedpeople.com which are directories of local tradesmen and builders who have been checked and verified by the website itself.
11. Get an official quote - Make sure the contractor provides you with a written estimate detailing the work to be done, materials used, timescales, and cost breakdowns before any work is started. This can help protect you if there are any disagreements later on down the line regarding payment terms or quality of workmanship etc.
12. Insist on an interview - By meeting in person prior to assigning them the job, it will allow you to get a better feel for their professionalism, reliability, and trustworthiness which could prove invaluable when dealing with messy or unfinished jobs.
13. Ask for references - While this may seem obvious, it’s always a good idea to ask for references from any previous clients they’ve worked with to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
14. Check qualifications and insurance - Make sure the contractor is qualified and has the right insurance policy in place so that, should anything go wrong, you won't be liable financially or held accountable in a court of law.
15. Hold back some money until completion - This will give you an assurance that the work will be done properly and can help avoid arguments later on about the quality of workmanship if part payment had been made prior to completion.
16. Get everything in writing - Before any work begins make sure you have a contract in place with the contractor that outlines what is to be done, when it needs to be completed, and how much it will cost. Make sure all parties understand and agree to the terms of the contract prior to signing.
17. Check for warranties - A reputable builder should provide guarantees or warranties on their work and materials used so ensure these are included as part of your agreement with them before work commences.
18. Keep a close eye on progress - It's always a good idea to keep an eye on the progress of any building works during the course of construction ensuring that quality control measures are being adhered to and that any material used is fit for the purpose.
19. Insist on a final inspection - Prior to completion, it's important that you and the builder undertake a thorough inspection of the works carried out to ensure it meets all your requirements and specifications.
20. Get references - Last but by no means least, if possible try and get references from previous customers who have used the services of any particular firm or individual builder you may be considering dealing with. It's always good practice to check the background of those you are entrusting work to, so don't be afraid to ask around and check what other people think before entering into an agreement with them.
With these 20 tips in mind hopefully, you can avoid any unfortunate issues when dealing with cowboy builders!