Choosing traders and service providers
General advice to consider when selecting builders or other service providers for building work.
The Environment Department is unable to advise the public on which builder or service provider to undertake building work. However when choosing builders and other service providers you may wish to consider the following general advice:
Start with referrals
- If possible, start by getting a referral from family or friends who have recently had work done.
- Ask two or three builders for estimates in writing. Ask them to confirm whether there is any planning permission required for the work.
Ask for references and check them
- Ask each builder for two or three references from previous customers. Contact these people and find out how happy they were with the work carried and the builder's conduct. If possible go and view some of the work.
- Ask to see examples of work undertaken.
Find out if the builder belongs to a respected trade body
- Ensure the builder belongs to a respected trade organisation as it will have membership standards and requirements. Don't forget to make a call to make sure membership is current.
Agree the work and put it in writing
- You should make an agreement or contract in writing with your builder. It should outline the work to be done, date of completion, security and safety, catering and lavatory arrangements, disposal of waste materials, hours of working and so on.
- Ask to see the builder's public liability insurance certificate. Also, the building work may affect your home and contents insurance - contact your own insurance company.
Deposits and Payment
- Deposits are usually only payable where specific or custom-made materials are required or where the project will take a long time to complete. Otherwise, avoid paying deposits, and agree any payment schedule in writing.