If you are undertaking improvement or building work on your home, here is some useful advice.
Before work starts
- don’t forget to contact our planning and building departments as necessary
- if you have adjoining or shared walls, give your neighbours a party wall notice
- if your home is listed or you live in a conservation area, check if there are any restrictions on what changes you can make.
Budgeting, quotes and specifications
- make a detailed list of everything you would like to have included
- compare quotes item by item and not just by the overall cost of the job
- check that VAT is included in the final cost
- set aside some money for unexpected problems
- if you are thinking about taking out a loan or using another form of credit to pay for the work, consider the full cost of the credit including the interest
- if you take out a loan or another form of credit to pay for the work, check the requirements of the agreement
- a cooling off period may apply if you take out credit. This is a set period of time from when the credit agreement was agreed, during which you have the right to cancel
- include costs for labour and parts in your overall budget
- when purchasing items shop around and check online
- agree who will purchase items and be responsible for making sure they arrive on time.
Finding a trader
- carry out checks to find a good trader. TrustMark, a non-profit organisation, promotes local, trustworthy and reliable tradesmen
- check online for websites with a feedback option to rate traders, but be wary of relying completely on the reports
- be clear about whether you need building regulation certificates for any of the work you are doing
- be prepared, look for a trader well in advance of when you would like the project to start
- be careful about using anyone who comes to your door cold calling. They may be rogue traders.
- obtain written quotations and ask for them to be broken down so that you can see the price of work and materials for each item
- produce a list or specification of what work you would like to have done
- discuss who is responsible if there are delays and who pays
- discuss and clarify house rules, for example no smoking in the house, or no muddy boots
- check if you will be given a timetable for the work
- agree how payments will be made
- check if there any health and safety aspects you need to be aware of.
- agree a single point of contact for the project
- have regular on site meetings
- raise any issues as they arise, don’t wait for the end of the project
- check that you are actually paying for the work that has been completed
- check that your our Building Control department has signed off key stages of the work, if they are required to.
- clarify what you would consider to be the end of the project. Make this clear at the very start and put this in writing so everyone knows
- be clear about when you will be required to make the final payment and what it covers
- remember that you are entitled to withhold a reasonable amount of money to ensure problems are put right.
Tidying up and snagging
- clarify at the start what marks the end of the project and make a note of this
- have a clear idea of when the final payment is due
- you have a right to withhold a reasonable amount of money if work has not been done to satisfactory quality
- keep a running list of items that are outstanding to form your snag list
- if the trader is reluctant to talk to you, you can get advice about from the Citizens Advice consumer service.
- have the correct forwarding details for your trader
- make sure that you have paperwork for items purchased by the trader and certificates for work, instructions and warranties.
Last updated: 21 June 2021 08:59:05