When planning home improvements, the project can involve a substantial investment in your property. How can you be sure your financial investment is protected?
Often, the contractor you employ to carry out the work was not known to you prior to their engagement. So can you trust your contractor?
Adding space to your home can be an excellent alternative to moving house and it can certainly be cheaper when you take into consideration possible stamp duty, estate agent fees and the cost of removal firms. But building work in itself does not come cheap and it is not without risk.
Most if not all contractors will request a deposit to cover some of their costs before they begin work, after all they don’t know if they can trust you to settle your account once the work is finished. On the other hand, how would you know if your contractor is struggling and will they be using your money to fund other work they are currently undertaking?
We want to get the work underway and completed on time by reliable contractors and tradesmen. Here are suggestions to avoid risks:
- Ask for several recent references and follow them up.
- Check that the contractor/tradesman is fully insured for any damages or claims that may arise from the work they will be carrying out.
- Always get more than one quote and ask for a breakdown of labour and materials so you can compare prices.
- Avoid paying cash.
- Check the contractor/tradesman has the required professional qualifications.
Consideration should be given to employing a surveyor to ensure the work is completed correctly, within the agreed time frame, on budget and in accordance with the Planning and Building Regulations for your area.
If you are managing the project yourself, it is advisable to set up separate transactions for each stage of the work which should keep you in control of your budget.
To help reduce the risk even further there are companies you can register with who offer secure transaction and payment facilities for building and home improvement projects. This is a good way to ensure your money is protected. It also gives the contractor /tradesman peace of mind that you have the money to pay his bill when the work is complete. Both customer and contractor are equally protected.