Home improvements

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.

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.

Contacting 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.

Find a Trading Standards approved builder

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.


Home Maintenance Guide (PDF 1.8MB)

A Guide to Rectifying Defects in your Home (PDF 1MB)