New research from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has shown that you should expect a four month wait for good builders. The research was published as part of their campaign to encourage the public to use Master Builders (who have to adhere to a strict set of criteria in order to be members of the FMB).
The research was published on 3rd July 2017 and indicates that builders should be booked in by consumers a minimum of four months in advance of the start of a project. Failure to do so puts them at risk of employing a ‘cowboy’ builder.
Another issue raised by the research indicates that a disturbing number of home owners fail to request basic essentials such as references or a contract from their builder before going ahead with large scale home building projects.
“If a builder is free to start work tomorrow, alarm bells should ring,” says the Chief Executive of the FMB, Brian Berry. “Demand for building work is incredibly high at the moment and it should be no surprise that almost one in two builders need to be contacted at least four months in advance of when a client is looking to start a home improvement project. The workloads of builders have been rising steadily over the past two years and there’s no shortage of work.”
He goes on to say that this is the reason they’re urging consumers eager to get on with their building or renovation projects get in touch with prospective builders as soon as they can. Failure to do so means “they risk disappointment delaying their projects or worse still, working with a dodgy builder,” Berry says. “So many building horror stories start with a client approaching a builder who’s free to start work sooner than the more professional builder who is really busy.”
Concerns about lack of research when choosing a builder
He is concerned that consumers are also leaving themselves open to issues regarding how their building work is approached. Most builders report that the majority of their clients don’t bother to ask for references and that even less will request a written contract for the project, and the same seems to hold true regarding asking for agreed payment schedules, key warranties for the work undertaken and checking for external accreditation or recognition of the builder by a professional trade association such as the FMB.
Berry concludes that, “These protections really are essential to helping clients weed out the cowboys and mitigate against any issues that could crop up during the build. A quality builder will insist on these things and if they don’t, consumers ought to question why.”
Some of the statistics highlighted by the FMB’s research and referred to by the Chief Executive are as follows:
- At least four months’ notice for a project is required by over 40% of builders;
- 90% of builders indicated that most consumers don’t ask for a written contract from them;
- In addition 80% of builders say that the majority of the time they are not asked to agree a payment schedule with the home owner;
- Less than 10% of builders reported that their clients usually ask for proof of important insurance policies like Employer’s Liability or Public Liability insurance.
If you’re planning a home building project in the near future, take heed of the FMB’s research and protect yourself from cowboys by making sure you book an accredited builder. Plan in advance, expecting to wait at least four months, and don’t forget to ask for the relevant insurances, contracts and references.Read More