Home maintenance - getting building works done
For the majority of people their house is the largest investment they will ever make. It makes sense, therefore to ensure that it is kept in the best possible condition.
Don’t take unnecessary risks with your health and safety and if you are in any doubt it’s best to leave it to the professionals.
Finding a reliable contractor to carry out building work can be difficult for some people, particularly the vulnerable and the elderly.
We have published a list of contractors (PDF 43.3KB) . This is not a list of ‘recommended contractors’ and no warranty is offered, or should be implied in respect of the performance of contractors included in this list. However, the contractors on this list have carried out grant work previously for clients and we have checked to ensure that they have the necessary insurances and health and safety policies in place.
If you are considering works to historic buildings then please contact the conservation and design team on 0300 300 8767 to discuss the repairs and seek advice on appropriate specialist building contractors.
What work needs to be done?
Before getting estimates take a good look at your property and prepare a list of what needs to be done and how much of it there is to do both inside and out.
How much work is there to do?
Measure as best you can the work to be done in m2 [SQ Metres] for walls, floors, ceilings, roofs and for door and window sizes, measure in Linear Metres by length for soffits/fascias, guttering, drainage pipes and DPCs; even a rough indication will assist you when dealing with a builder.
Having drafted your list of works (or specification) get a few photocopies done ready for the builders.
Go by personal recommendations or approved lists of builders. Ask builders for the details of jobs they have just finished and follow them up with their clients. Look for local builders as travelling time has to be paid for and smaller builders who commonly carry out the sort of domestic work you need doing. Do not pay for estimates.
You need at least two estimates. Estimates should be on a builders headed note paper, dated and signed by the builder showing a price against each item of work, a sub total plus VAT and a grand total. Ask when your builder can start work and the duration of the job and get written confirmation.
Works in progress
Whilst works are in progress look over the work and discuss it with your builder on a daily basis, be critical and ask questions. Don’t pay money up front.
Pay increments as individual items are completed to your satisfaction less retention of 10%. Pay promptly, following a final inspection of the works where you check that everything looks satisfactory and operates properly.