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Having building work done

See Factsheet 4: VAT, Planning Control and Building Regulations

As a landlord or new home-owner you may need to carry out fairly extensive repairs and renovations. You may only need to make minor alterations or improvements. Whatever your empty property requires, you’ll need good builders and tradesmen. As property owner you’ll need to maintain the structure and exterior of the dwelling, plus basics such as basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary installations inside, and, all heating and hot water installations.

Building work can be costly, time-consuming and stressful but with a bit of research decent builders can be found who can deliver the work for you and to a high standard. Many will want to demonstrate this with certification, accreditation etc. We can point you in the right direction with these three steps:

  1. Download factsheet 1, ‘Building Work - selecting a builder’ (pdf 69 Kb).
  2. Download factsheet 2, 'Seven steps to avoid 'cowboy builders' (pdf 64 Kb).
  3. Explore our Useful Links to start your search for tradesmen
Remember the essentials. The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) offer these simple guidelines for choosing and working with a builder:
  • Ask for references and talk to previous customers. A good builder will provide you with credentials and references, so try to visit previous jobs similar to your own.
  • Credentials. If the builder is a member of a trade association, check the membership criteria – and make sure they really are a member, rogue builders have been known to falsely claim membership.
  • Estimates. Get estimates from two or three different builders. Be clear about what you want done and ask for a written specification and quotation.
  • Plan your work. Avoid adding to the job or changing your mind halfway through – it will usually cost more and cause delays. Confirm any changes you do make in writing.
  • Use a contract – the FMB has a Plain English contract for small building work.
  • Payments. Agree any staged and final payments before work starts. And avoid dealing in cash.
  • Talk to each other. If any problems arise whilst work is in progress, or you are unhappy about anything, talk to your builder right away.

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