The Federation of Master Builders

Homeowners, don't expose yourself to bad practice

Published date: 03 August 2017

Are you considering having building work done to your property? New research from the Federation of Master Builders reveals that many homeowners are leaving themselves unprotected and vulnerable to cowboy builders. Whether you are employing a builder for repairs or to build an extension in your home, no one wants their home to turn into a horror story. If you want to take action and prevent a building disaster – we might just have the answers.

Plan ahead

Builder’s workloads have been rising steadily over the past two years, particularly with home renovations. As more than 40% of builders need at least four months’ notice from consumers, it’s important to note that if a builder is free to start work tomorrow, alarm bells should ring. With this in mind, homeowners are urged to contact prospective builder as soon as possible to avoid delaying their project or worse, working with a dodgy builder.

Take references and access reviews

The vast majority of builders say that most clients fail to ask for references, however, how can you be sure whether a builder is right for you without checking out their previous work. So after you’ve decided on a shortlist of contractors, it’s time to start checking their references. Any reputable builder should be able to supply the information you need to make a decision, although it’s worth checking them out online for reviews and photos. 

Ask for an agreed payment schedule and contract

Equally, 80% of builders reported that most consumers don’t ask for an agreed payment schedule or a written contract. However, where there’s money involved, and several parties each with their own interests, it’s all too easy to get burnt when building or renovating a home. Having a contract will cover all sorts of tangible and intangible deliverables for your project including time frames, payment terms, materials to be used, warranties and what happens in the event of any disputes.

Request to see vital insurance policies

Many homeowners are leaving themselves vulnerable in the event of a claim, as fewer than 10% of builders say that clients normally request to see vital insurance policies such as public liability or employer’s liability insurance. Although it may not seem necessary at first it’s a crucial safety net to check. It’s also important to note that even though a building warranty may not be compulsory, it will provide you with extra protection and peace of mind before, during and after construction on your existing development – and either you or the builder can take the cover out.

Read the full Press Release here

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