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How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off by a Cowboy Builder

How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off by a Cowboy Builder

How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off by a Cowboy Builder

In this three-minute read,
we look at how
Kent homeowners can protect themselves from unscrupulous builders.

We’ve all heard the renovation horror stories. The
builder who does a runner halfway through a job, leaving a homeowner out of
pocket and living in a construction site. The messy contractual dispute that
winds up in court and ends in tears. Or the new roof that leaks at the first
drop of rain.

The good news is that by following a few simple
steps, Kent property
owners can avoid getting ripped off.

Jonny Greve, an experienced builder who runs the
respected construction firmGreve and Son in East Sussex, has these seven tips for side-stepping cowboy

1) Online research

Many websites offer consumer reviews and information about
tradespeople, such asCheckatrade andTrustmark. Do some homework online to see if your chosen builder has a
good track record.

2) Membership bodies

Most good builders will be members of at least one trade body
such as theFederation of Master Builders,
theGuild of Master Craftsmen, orFENSA. Always double-check
a builder’s membership claims. Never take their word for it.

3) Check the finances

“The last thing you want to do is spend tens of thousands of
pounds – or more – with a company that is in negative equity,” says Jonny. Ensure
the builder is in good financial shape by reading over their annual accounts on
theCompanies House website.

4) See for yourself

Ask to see examples of previous building projects. Ideally,
visit the site and speak to the client (Covid-19 restrictions permitting).
Also, find out where the builder is working currently and drive past to see if
the site is tidy and if workers turn up on time.

5) Get three quotes and
a watertight contract

It always pays to get three quotes and to ensure contracts cover
the full scope of works. Never leave detailed building projects to chance or
make agreements based on a wink and a handshake.

6) Avoid cold-callers

“If someone knocked on my door and offered to do a job for me on
the cheap, I would immediately be suspicious,” says Jonny. “Good builders are
busy – for example, I have clients lined up until the end of the year. Steer
clear of canvassers and be prepared to wait for a good builder to start work at
your property.”

7) Go on instinct

Trust your gut. If
something doesn’t feel right when you talk to a builder, exercise caution.

If you would like advice
about how renovations could add value to your Kent property, get in
touch with us here at CWB Property.