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17 September 2014
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Find a tradesman

If you're looking for a good builder but don't know where to start, the Federation of Master Builders suggests you follow these guidelines to make sure you get the right person for the job.


  • Ask for references and names of previous clients. Speak to them and look at their previous work, if possible.

Deal with an established firm

  • Make sure they have an office address, telephone number and use headed notepaper.
  • Check they are a member of a reputable trade association, and if VAT is being charged, make sure there is a VAT number shown.

Be clear about what you want

  • Get a written specification and estimate.
  • Agree any stage and final payments before work starts.
  • Get more than one estimate.
  • Avoid changing your mind halfway through a job - it usually costs more and causes delays.
  • Ask for an insurance-backed warranty for the work.

What to look out for

  • High pressure sales people from so-called specialists.
  • Do not sign anything you have not read or do not understand.
  • Advance payments, particularly at the start of the job, should be avoided.
  • Demands for cash payments. You are only fuelling the black economy and putting yourself at risk from rogue traders.

What to do if things go wrong

  • Speak to your builder if you think things are not right. Try and resolve problems quickly, do not let them fester.
  • If your builder does not sort things out after you have spoken to him, put your complaint in writing.
  • If there are still problems, get further advice. Depending on the problem, consult a solicitor, the Citizens Advice Bureau, Trading Standards, Building Control or Trade Association.

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