When you need work doing in your house, how do you find a reliable builder to do it (if you're unable to do it yourself)?

(10 Posts)
Cirithelioness Tue 02-Feb-16 23:09:46

I am asking this mainly for my mum's benefit. My mum likes getting jobs done in the house fairly frequently. This includes things such as renovations and repair work. Unfortunately, she doesn't have anyone reliable to do the work and has been repeatedly stung by cowboy builders doing shit jobs. Think shoddy workmanship, poor timekeeping, unpleasant attitudes and such. My dad is terrible at anything practical, so she can't rely on him. About 4 years ago, she had a new bathroom installed and has been having problems with it ever since. The original builder fucked it up completely, then she had to get someone else in to rectify the original builder's mistakes. There are still problems with it. There's a radiator that doesn't work, the toilet doesn't flush properly and the taps are rusty and severely scratched through normal use. Also, the water pressure from the bath tap is too low so the bath takes forever to fill up. My mum has been talking about having it redone again but she doesn't know anyone who she can ask to do it.

Aside from the bathroom there have been other mishaps. A couple of years ago, she got a builder in to fit new coving in the living room. The guy who came to do it showed up, literally did nothing for two hours, then left and never came back. There were a couple of plasterers who came to replaster one of the walls but did a lamentable job. She wants that redone again. A joiner came a few months ago to install new doors upstairs. The latch on the bathroom door is dodgy so it won't close properly. There are also loose floorboards upstairs which are a hazard. They've been that way since the builders who installed the central heating did a shoddy job putting the floorboards back in place. I wanted to ask how you find reliable builders/workmen to do jobs? Do you all have DP/DHs who are masters at DIY and thus you don't need to pay a builder?

SternlyVoice Tue 02-Feb-16 23:22:30

At work, we have a "Handy Persons" electronic notice board, where people put recommendations for various things like plumbers, solicitors, painters, etc.. If you're trying to find someone to do something which isn't listed, you can put a request on our internal newsgroups. Recently, I requested some input on loft conversions and got the same recommendation twice, with an offer to go round one person's house to see an example of their workmanship. We did the same recently when looking for an estate agent to list our house and a solicitor to do the conveyancing. Also, got a local plumber this way and was really pleased. Works well on the whole.

The other option we have is a local Facebook page, where people ask for recommendations.

chelle792 Tue 02-Feb-16 23:25:10

My DH is a tradesman - always says don't trust check-a-trade, etc. The tradesmen pay to be on it so who would their loyalty be with. Ask people for recommendations

DangerMouth Wed 03-Feb-16 12:51:41

chelle can your dh recommend anyone in SW London grin

I have the exact question OP. I've tried friend recommendations, check-a-trade, other Aussies (surely a fellow countryman wouldn't screw me over?) but here I am waiting for the plumber to return to fix our heating after doing a service on our 4 yo boiler yesterday.

I despair at having to get work done to our house and for this reason won't ever get our loft converted. Would rather pay stamp duty and removal fees than deal with yet another useless fecking tradesman.

Ps my df is a carpenter so l have nothing against tradie's just finding one who is competent in London for me is nearly impossible!

PuppyMonkey Wed 03-Feb-16 13:02:45

Any builders doing work in your neighbourhood at the moment? Ask them if they can come over and do your work too?

JassyRadlett Wed 03-Feb-16 13:08:12

Danger, which bit of SW London are you in? My plumber has just left - came out within 24 hours to fix a non urgent shower problem. Not the cheapest but consistently reliable.

I'm in need of a carpenter though...

CottonFrock Wed 03-Feb-16 13:17:07

We have electricians, plumbers, carpenters, plasterers, tilers and others in and out at the moment, and they are all pleasant, hardworking professionals who are considerate of our space, show up when they say, and are nice to have around. We got them via a local building firm which regularly uses them, and which does a lot of work for both DH's and my workplaces, and was happy to do a little bit of domestic work (they're usually only commercial premises) to keep both institutions sweet.

So that's not much help to you, OP, but good tradesmen do exist. This whole renovation has been an education in how much easier it can be with good workmen, who also trust and know one another's work. It also probably makes a difference that we are in the countryside, so less opportunity to pull a fast one and vanish, and word of mouth/general goodwill important.

We had good people, via friend recommendations, when we lived in London, but the snag was that you ended up booking them months in advance, and in the case of at least one firm, they trekked in from somewhere in Kent, and frequently got stuck in traffic.

NanTheWiser Wed 03-Feb-16 17:12:55

I know Checkatrade gets a bit of flak on here, but if you don't have a large circles of friends and acquaintances to recommend traders, it's not so easy to find a tradesman to do the work you're looking for.
After my husband died 4 years ago, (I'm 69) I have embarked on major house refurbishing, and have used Checkatrade for all my traders, and not been disappointed. They all have reviews, and often photo galleries, so it's a case of trawling through them, and checking them out. Get several quotes, and find someone who can do the work within your budget.
I'm currently looking for a kitchen fitter (complete kitchen refurbish), and should be seeing a local chap soon. I have no problem with using the site, bad apples are usually chucked off.

hydrangea78 Wed 03-Feb-16 19:25:07

Local mums Facebook groups. Heaps of info.

DangerMouth Thu 04-Feb-16 10:57:26

Thanks Jassy, plumber fixed the heater so am happy again smile

Good luck with the carpenter. Would be interested if you do find one though.

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