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Common building problems

The most common problem between the customer and the contractor is a lack of communication. When you are commencing upon a construction project of any description, be that a boiler replacement in London, a house rewiring project, right through to a some garden decking, you should always have a written agreement in place with the builder, plumber or electrician in there is a dispute.

Falling out with the builder

In 2012, around 13 Million people in the US and 2.5 Million people in the UK had had a dispute with a contractor within the past three years. 25% of those felt they had to take formal or legal action. The most common disagreement was over the quality of work. Other major complaints were about contractors and traders not turning up when agreed, properties left untidy while the job was going on and delays to the project.

A lot of homeowners don't help themself. 25% failed to receive a written quote from their contractor before the work began, leaving them no basis from which to dispute the bad work or cost overruns. 40% of people felt that they had a bad experience with their contractor, tjhat they thought they were owed money and that they would never use them again. 35% had to seek the help of a professional body ot take the trader to court.

How to avoid cowboy builders and decorators

1. Find a trader through word of mouth or personal recommendation from friends and family. If you can't do that find one from a reputable trader site such as www.righttrader.com.

2. Get 3 to 5 detailed quotes before starting work, ask for references, and do not be afraid to verify them by asking to visit previous clients with the trader.

3. Get a signed contract that fully sets out the costs, the work to be completed and start and completion dates.

4. Never pay all of the money up front. A deposit is reasonable but payment should be made on satisfactory completion of the job. Request a written schedule of when payments are to be made.

5. Never, ever go for the cheaper option of paying in cash rather than getting a proper invoice. Yes that will mean you pay sales tax but those traders willing to do jobs off the books know that there is very little legal comeback if they decide not to honour their word. Paying by credit card can offer a little extra protection if things go wrong.

6. Finally - be reasonable. Traders, contractors, plumbers and electricians aren't slaves. Treat them with respect and you'll get more out of them. Politeness gors a long way with a trader.