One in ten home building projects fail to please homeowners, leaving a trail of unhappy customers, according to new research from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
Of the homeowners who are unhappy with their building work, the top reasons cited include shoddy workmanship (49%), cost overruns (27%) and delays (23%).
However, most of these issues can be avoided if homeowners stick to the ‘Keep away from the Cowboys’ checklist that the FMB has prepared. Master Builders have to pass an independent inspection, as well as credit and director checks before they can join the FMB. They can also offer warranties on their work and have access to free written contracts that help protect both parties. The FMB also offers a dispute resolution service should any problems arise.
The ‘Keep away from the Cowboys’ checklist is issued by the FMB and includes the following advice for homeowners:
- Get a contract – make sure everything is agreed in writing to avoid problems later;
- Don’t flash the cash – our research shows that when builders demand to be paid in cash so that they can avoid paying VAT, they are more likely to cut corners elsewhere and leave their customers dissatisfied;
- Check for scam schemes – not all rating schemes are the same. Does membership mean the builder has been checked or have they just paid for the logo?
Helen Patterson was one of those who felt let down by her builder: “I am absolutely distraught. My emotions are all over the place and my house is in a terrible state of disrepair. It was supposed to be the start of building my dream home and suddenly it was in complete ruins – the man responsible, who I had trusted with my hard-earned cash, just disappeared. This has left me in a financially difficult situation wishing I had used a builder that had been vetted by a more reliable third party to avoid this sort of thing happening.”
The ‘Keep away from the Cowboys’ checklist can be downloaded from the FMB website.