Thanks to TV programs like Rip Off Britain, it’s understandable that UK customers are cautious when looking for a building contractor. Let Beeby Construction Services reassure you that horror stories are few and far between but it’s always wise to take precautions. With our years in this industry, we’ve come to identify red flags common to the bad construction services. In this guide, we’ll tell you what those red flags are and show you how you can overcome those issues by choosing the right builder for you.
Use Diligence In Your Online Search
This is your top weapon in avoiding the cowboy builders
. The internet is the ideal place to find recommended builders and other tradespeople. This means it’s also ideal to find good tradespeople and identify those with a poor service history. With a thorough search, it’s easier to identify those bad building contractors.
Look at social media recommendations and Google reviews. Past customers will generally review for two reasons: when they had a great experience, and when they had a bad experience. If possible, reach out to past customers and ask to see some photographs of the finished job. Social media makes it far easier to do this than Google reviews where there are still too many fake reviews, both good and bad.
Some Words of Caution on Reviews
Not every experience is going to turn out perfectly. Nobody is perfect and even the most experienced and highly qualified builder is going to make mistakes. You can expect the occasional bad review, even with a good recommended local building contractor without needing to go to trading standards
Negative reviews are helpful in that you can see how the business responds to customers unhappy with their service. If they have a commitment to quality service, they will do what they can to remedy the situation. If they ask the customer to give them a call to discuss a resolution, or if they point out that the issue has been resolved since the review, this should be perceived as a positive thing. Ignoring a review or an aggressive response should be a red flag.
Don’t always take negative reviews at face value, especially if it sounds generic “bad service, sorry, can’t recommend”.With little actual detail, it’s hard to know what the problem is and there is a high chance you are reading a fake review. Most businesses know all too well that competitors occasionally attempt to sabotage those they perceive as a threat. Google and other review aggregators are not powerless to remove them, but it can be hard to convince sites that such a review is fake. The best way to not let such reviews influence you is to pay attention to the details.
Choosing a Building Contractor
Beeby Construction Services cannot stress enough the importance of shopping around. Naturally, we want you to choose us as often as possible, but we want you to do so satisfied that you have chosen the ideal building contractor for whatever job you need us to do. That’s why we advocate getting at least three quotes before making your decision. Never go by the price alone as a cheaper quote can end up being much more expensive in the long run.
There are several things to consider. Firstly, how quickly did they turn around your quote? Did they take a long time or was it relatively quick? There is no real sweet spot, but you can expect the paperwork to take a couple of days, even with a builder going through a quieter time of the year as they need to cost materials and time. Quality is more important though – how detailed is it? Anything important left off? Paperwork missing important points may indicate sloppy attention to detail in workmanship too.
It’s rare that a builder will do a big job on their own. Typically, a quality construction service will hire employees and use the same trusted subcontractors each time. You can rely on quality service when a building contractor team gel well together. We recommend avoiding construction services that rely too much on agency staffing because quality can vary from job to job.
During your search for recommended local builders, always ask for a work schedule before agreeing to take on the building contractor. A work schedule is simple – it lists the tasks associated with the job, when they expect each task to complete, and who will work on each task and when. Building contractors always have a plan of work and they would be more than happy to supply one.
You should only ever pay a deposit upfront, not the full amount and a good quality builder wouldn’t generally ask for a substantial amount of money for materials. However, if larger sums of money are to change hands for legitimate reasons, we advise setting up a holding account with a secure service like Escrow
Be suspicious if a building contractor can start immediately. Here at Beeby Construction Services, it’s not unusual to be booked up weeks or months in advance. It’s rare to find anyone in our industry who can start next week or even tomorrow. The most likely scenario is that they are starting new jobs before old contracts are even finished. Or it could be they have little to no demand.
Beware of Accreditation
Industry accreditation can give customers a sense of security of quality service. But all is not what it seems as most accreditation services are paying membership sites. These referrals are paid endorsements and not indicative of industry-standard or level of quality. Their vetting services are easy to pass, offering no guarantee against cowboy building contractors.
Building control notifications
If you are considering any building project particularly when working under “Permitted Development” always notify your local building control department.
All reputable builders will talk you through this process
You will get more information from the Local Authority Building Control websites.