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Any tips for dealing with building contractor?

(8 Posts)
vcrees6 Tue 11-Oct-16 09:48:16

I am getting an empty property renovated by a builder who was recommended by a family friend. I have not done anything like this before.

I have accepted a verbal quote but family friend has advised I won't really get anything in writing as English not that great.

Any tips for a newbie? He has asked for a deposit (he said up to me), I have thought 15%.

I'm going to ask if I can transfer this via bank transfer and put together a receipt that he signs and then hand over a key.

I know of course there are Cowboys and he could just run away with the money but assuming he doesn't, any tips on how I should proceed, handle the money side as the renovation progresses? He is providing materials.

Pradaqueen Tue 11-Oct-16 10:45:28


Get something in writing even if it is an email or a text exchange. If it goes wonky you will need it! I am pretty sure you are potentially liable for not paying VAT on goods and services you might reasonably expect to pay so get a receipt book and get the builder to sign on each and every occasion you hand money over There is nothing intrinsically wrong in paying cash or working without an 'official' contract as long you protect yourself from investigation by any official body and you understand the risks of which there are many....

Without question though (and this is a definite deal breaker) do not engage the services of anyone who does not have contractor insurance or third party liability. This is especially important if it attached to another property. Any work carried out by a contractor in your property without a formal contract you will be liable for and this includes their welfare. I.e accidents. You will also need to ensure access to a working loo.

Do not forget to get a party wall agreement if you need one.

Honestly? If you are not experienced and he won't formalise the agreement, no matter how cheap he is, walk away.

johnd2 Tue 11-Oct-16 15:45:35

For a small job where the consequences of it going wrong you can deal with, use who you like.
For a big job where you could be bankrupted if it goes wrong, you can't be too careful.
having said that I get nervous buying things on eBay from people with no feedback, and the most I could lose would be a couple of hundred.
We have builders in and they've been referenced by the architect and I've seen their insurance and we have a formal contact from the architect. The main guy seems really straight forward and helpful and the guys are working really conscientiously. I'm still really nervous about what might go wrong!
It's all down to your appetite for risk and whether you can control it enough. Good luck though!

reallybadidea Tue 11-Oct-16 15:49:41

Not in a million years would I get a property renovated without a written contract. I wouldn't be very happy to pay a deposit either - most builders should have sufficient cash flow or credit to get started. I'd also be concerned about doing any work that major with someone whose English isn't that good - the potential for miscommunication is huge!

123rd Tue 11-Oct-16 15:50:28

No way!! We came up with a 'contract' which we wrote.
Breakdown by room what you expect to be paying for.
Doesn't have to be 'legal speak' just
Kitchen :
New floor laid
Kitchen installed
All plumbing & electrical work associated

I wouldn't just go with a verbal quote. Even having it written down it is still ' flexible'hmmhmm

PigletJohn Tue 11-Oct-16 15:54:59

It is absolutely essential that you and the builder agree what is to be done and the price.

Whatever is not agreed in writing will not be included in the price.

steppingout Tue 11-Oct-16 16:21:07

Definitely definitely agree everything in writing. If you want to do it yourself, consider at least writing a detailed list of everything that needs to be done in each room as suggested above. The builder should quote to this. Breaking down the cost room by room or by type of works (eg. Plastering/plumbing etc) will at least give you something to stage payments against - so, work to kitchen is roughly 50% done, you pay him that portion of the agreed costs. Make it clear that if anything comes up that he considers to be outside the agreed cost (eg. Unforeseen structural work) that he has to cost it and agree with you in writing before doing anything. You can buy a pretty clear and legally binding contract (JCT Minor Works) that you can fill in yourself that sets out standard terms for things like payments/completion/an amount o be held back for 6 months in case of unseen problems. Finally, how long has the property been empty for? You can get breaks on VAT if over a certain amount of time.

vcrees6 Tue 11-Oct-16 18:00:11

Ooh thanks v much for the advice - lots to go away and think about - there won't be major structural work but still quite a lot to be done internally

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