We are afraid not. Your Building Control Officer is required to be completely impartial in his dealings with any builder or client and this would obviously not be possible if he/she were in the position of recommending one builder ahead of another. We are well aware of the difficulties involved in finding a good builder however and hope that recent Government initiatives on controlling the ‘Cowboy Builder’ will lead to us being able to offer more assistance in the future.

For the time being we would recommend that you :-

1. Choose an established builder and ask to talk to previous clients – ask if they were happy with the work, was it started and completed on time and was the final bill in line with the estimate. A builder with a reputation to preserve is more likely to be around if you have problems later.

2. Never choose a builder on the basis of a low estimate alone. Good builders who refuse to cut corners will seldom be able to compete on price with those that do.

3. Avoid builders who offer VAT free deals in return for cash payments. A builder who will fiddle the taxman will probably not think twice about fiddling you as well !

4. Be clear from the outset exactly what you want the builder to do and then stick to it – changing your mind too often will probably prove expensive.

5. Try to agree a simple contract with your builder – the vast majority of smaller work is carried out without the benefit of any written contract at all. Try to get as much as possible in writing, for example :-

  • Exactly what is included in the estimate (or preferably quotation
  • When will work start and how long will it take
  • What payments will the builder expect from you before the works are finished
  • On what basis you will want to agree any increase in cost (before the money is spent)
  • What arrangements will the builder make for your safety and convenience as works proceed.
  • Is the builder properly insured.

6. When the works are completed to the satisfaction of your Building Control Officer you will be sent a ‘Completion Certificate’. We recommend that you do not make the final payment to your builder until you have the certificate, but try to agree this with your builder at the outset (see 5 above). Completion certificates are becoming increasingly important and it is likely that you will have difficulty selling your property in the future without one.