Working in partnership

Getting work done


Unless you have a reasonable working knowledge of building construction it would be advisable before any work is started to obtain appropriate professional advice which is relevant to the building work you want to carry out (from an architect, a structural engineer, a building surveyor, a heating engineer or a replacement window specialist).

As this is one of the biggest investments you are likely to make you should thoroughly check out any builder or professional before employing their services. Here are some things you should consider doing:

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For larger projects consider employing a professional building firm or an established practice of architects or surveyors to advise you.

Discuss fully the extent of your requirements with your professional; for example does it involve the preparation of plans only or is site supervision part of the package.

Remember Building Control only monitors the work at key stages and only enforces a minimum level of compliance. It should not be relied on to provide quality control checks.
If you consider your job too small that you don't require a professional, get advice from someone in the industry who you know and trust.

Always obtain quotations (at least three) and have them checked. Don't automatically go for the cheapest quote.
Ask questions of the builder:


Finally reassure yourself by checking out the builder's work, references and other aspects, like work habits, with previous clients.

Trustmark

If you don't feel happy asking these sorts of questions then you could consider looking for the TrustMark logo. TrustMark is a new scheme supported by the Government, consumer groups and the building industry to help you find reputable firms to do repair, maintenance and improvement work in your home or garden.
If a firm displays the TrustMark logo you know that a trade association or other certification organisation that has been approved has checked the firm and found that it meets certain standards the Government has set. To find out more please visit www.trustmark.org.uk

You may also find useful advice by contacting Consumer Direct, the Government's phone and online consumer advice service. They can provide clear, practical advice about your rights, choosing a tradesperson, and what to do if things go wrong. Consumer Direct can't recommend individual firms, but they will give you contact details for approved scheme operators who have suitable TrustMark-registered tradespeople who can carry out the work you are doing.

You can call them on 08454 040506 or visit their website at www.consumerdirect.gov.uk





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