New research from the Federation of Master Builders has revealed homeowners should allow four months’ notice to hire a builder

A high number of homeowners do not allow sufficient time to organise the details of contracts or payments before undertaking construction projects. This was the findings of new research from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

The research revealed a worrying trend of consumers failing to gain a contract or reference from a builder when embarking on a major building project. Data collected from the survey suggested more than 40 per cent of builders require at least four months’ notice to start a new job. Despite this, most homeowners do not build time into their project to do this.

Other key findings from the research revealed a high number of homeowners do not ask for a written contract before work commences. Some 90 per cent of builders who participated in the research said this was the case.

Even more concerning is 80 per cent of builders said most consumers did not ask for an agreed payment schedule and fewer than 10 per cent of builders were asked to produce vital insurance policies such as public liability or employer’s liability insurance.

Avoid hiring a dodgy builder

FMB’s Chief Executive Brian Berry said: “If a builder is free to start work tomorrow, alarm bells should ring. Demand for building work is incredibly high at the moment and it should be no surprise that almost one in two builders need to be contacted at least four months in advance of when a client is looking to start a home improvement project.

“The workloads of builders have been rising steadily over the past two years and there’s no shortage of work. That’s why we’re urging home owners who are keen to crack on with their build or renovation projects to start getting in touch with prospective builders as soon as possible.

“Otherwise, they risk disappointment delaying their projects or worse still, working with a dodgy builder. So many building horror stories start with a client approaching a builder who’s free to start work sooner than the more professional builder who is really busy.”

Berry concluded: “There are also indications that home owners are leaving themselves vulnerable to problems in terms of how they approach their building work. The vast majority of builders say that most clients fail to ask for references and even fewer ask for a written contract on their work.

“There is a similar trend when it comes to asking for critical things like an agreed payment schedule and key warranties on work, as well as checking whether the builder has any external accreditation or recognition from professional trade association like the FMB.

“These protections really are essential to helping clients weed out the cowboys and mitigate against any issues that could crop up during the build. A quality builder will insist on these things and if they don’t, consumers ought to question why.”


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