Saturday 28 April 2018

Fears over ‘cowboy builders’ cost UK £10bn a year as homeowners opt for smaller upgrades

Homeowners are choosing small measures to improve their properties in a bid to avoid hiring ‘cowboy builders’ — resulting in losses of more than £10 billion a year to the UK economy.

Research by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB)[1] found that a third (32%) of homeowners are put off undertaking major improvements because they fear hiring an untrustworthy tradesperson.

As a result, homeowners are seeking smaller measures that improve the aesthetic of their property and add value without requiring major renovations.

Such changes include replacing doors, upgrading windows and changing the flooring in selected rooms.

Residents are often more comfortable hiring professionals to perform smaller renovations because they present less financial risk due to shorter turnaround times and lower costs.

The research shows that if there was full confidence in the building industry, a single property owner would spend an average of £40,000 over five years on home improvement projects.

And this figure increases to £67,000 for those living in London.

Joe Halsall, Digital Marketing Manager at Origin, said: 
“Following the recent trend for television shows exposing ‘cowboy builders’, it’s little wonder that public confidence in tradespeople has plummeted.
“Whether you’re investing in a brand new bathroom suite or a set of bi-fold doors, you’ve a right to know it’ll be installed by someone who’s reputable and reliable.  
“That’s why some suppliers work closely with trades people— offering transparency to their customers so they can check the credentials beforehand and have confidence in who they’re letting into their home to do the job.”

To receive the best service, consumers are recommended to use suppliers whose trade partners are fully trained in the installation of the product in question. Other checks to perform include studying reviews from previous customers and ensuring that any trade partner is registered with its supplier as a ‘trusted partner’.

Previous research from the FMB also exposed alarming numbers of people who fail to ask for vital documents, with 90% of builders reporting that most homeowners do not demand a written contract.

But for homeowners who decide to invest in major improvements there is a number of recommendations that will help ensure they are hiring a trustworthy and fully qualified professional.

These include researching reliable tradespeople online, asking for contracts and quotes in writing and avoiding ‘cash-in-hand’ arrangements.

Looking for a builder who is a member of a recognised regulatory trade body, such as the FMB, is also a good indicator of reputation.  Some trade organisations also give out certain guarantees; businesses registered with glazing bodies Fensa and Certass are required to give a 10-year guarantee on all installations.

“It’s clear that many property owners have money to spend on home improvements,” Joe added. “By taking the proper precautions, such as researching tradespeople online or commissioning a supplier that employs reputable trade partners, there’s no reason why people shouldn’t have peace of mind when improving the look and value of their home.”

Origin is a specialist UK manufacturer of bespoke aluminium bi-fold doors and windows. Founded in 2002, the company designs and manufactures all products to customers’ specifications from its Buckinghamshire factory.

About Origin

Origin is a specialist UK manufacturer of bespoke aluminium bi-fold doors and windows. Founded in 2002, the company designs and manufactures all products to customers’ specifications from its Buckinghamshire factory.

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