Trades­men: avoid­ing a rough deal

Ju­lia gray shares her tips on the best ways to in­crease your chances of get­ting it right when it comes to choos­ing trades­men.

Rutherglen Reformer - - House & Home -

It’s no se­cret that one of the best ways to find some­one who’ll do a good job is to get a rec­om­men­da­tion from a friend, fam­ily mem­ber, neigh­bour or col­league.

How­ever, it doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily work well when it’s a rec­om­men­da­tion from an­other trades­per­son.

While your plum­ber may know a good elec­tri­cian they’ve worked with be­fore, for ex­am­ple, if it’s a case of try­ing to get a mate some work, be cau­tious.

Some trades­peo­ple do a good job the first few times you use them and be­come un­re­li­able. They’re only as good as their last job.

If you don’t have a rec­om­men­da­tion from a fel­low cus­tomer, where can you turn?

An ar­chi­tect, if you’re us­ing one, may have con­trac­tors they use reg­u­larly and can get quo­ta­tions from. De­pend­ing on how much you want the ar­chi­tect to do ( and how much you want to pay them), they may also be able to man­age the project and con­trac­tors for you, sav­ing time and en­ergy.

A trade body, such as the Fed­er­a­tion of Master Builders ( www. fmb. org. uk), can be a good place to start.

Most trade bod­ies have a sec­tion on their web­site where you can search for mem­bers and check mem­ber­ship. There should also be an ex­pla­na­tion of what qual­i­fi­ca­tions mem­bers have and the code of prac­tice they’ve signed up to or the un­der­tak­ings they make. For some jobs, it’s es­sen­tial to check the trades per­son you’re em­ploy­ing be­longs to the pro­fes­sional body they claim to. For ex­am­ple, if you need some­one to work on a gas ap­pli­ance, by law they have to be a mem­ber of Gas Safe Reg­is­ter. You can check some­one’s cre­den­tials at www.gas­safer­eg­is­ter.co.uk, and search for mem­bers near you.

Gas Safe Reg­is­ter mem­bers can self­cer­tify that their work com­plies with build­ing reg­u­la­tions, and this is use­ful with other trades too.

It means you don’t need to em­ploy a build­ing con­trol or ap­proved in­spec­tor (un­less it’s a job only they can sign off on) to con­firm that the work com­plies with build­ing regs, as the con­trac­tor can do it them­selves – and is­sue a cer­tifi­cate to con­firm this, which you may need when you sell your home. While this isn’t nec­es­sary for all jobs, it is for some, in­clud­ing a lot of elec­tri­cal work.

Many elec­tri­cians who can self-cer­tify their work be­long to NICEIC.

NICEIC web­site www. niceic. com is par­tic­u­larly use­ful be­cause it has a Wall of Shame page, which lists elec­tri­cians try­ing to pass them­selves off as NICEIC mem­bers when they’re not. Al­ways check your con­trac­tor’s cre­den­tials.

AN AR­CHI­TECT can help if you are strug­gling to find re­li­able con­trac­tors

AL­WAYS check your elec­tri­cian’s cre­den­tials at www.niceic.com

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