Surveying Property: How to avoid Cowboy BuildersBeat The Cowboy Builder
Trust is something in which we expect that services provided will be as advertised or discussed and that those who claimed to deliver such services will be competent to do so.
Unfortunately, there are endless examples, Cowboy Builders being one, where this trust has been mis-placed, as there are plenty of unscrupulous people out there who are waiting to exploit this situation.
There are times when we need to engage the services of a builder, contractor, tradesperson, (call them what you will), when we are considering building work or indeed in the event of an emergency. Selection of ‘the right person’ is often determined by random selection based upon a brief search through Yellow Pages, a quick internet search or a card displayed in a newsagent’s window. This leads to us placing our trust in people we know very little about and allowing then access into our homes/buildings. For all we know these people could be an unscrupulous cowboy builder.
Trust is something in which we expect that services provided will be as advertised/discussed and that those who claimed to deliver such services will be competent to do so. Unfortunately, there are endless examples where this trust has been mis-placed, as there are plenty of unscrupulous people out there who are waiting to exploit this situation.
Knowledge of home repairs and building works is something many people no little to nothing about and therefore prefer to pay to have these types of work carried out. Therefore, if a ‘builder’ is invited to give advice and a quotation, most people will not have the expertise to assess whether the work they are proposing is appropriate or indeed necessary, or whether it represents good value for money or not.
So why do we seem to make these rash decisions?
This is likely to be due to the urgency of works, our trusting nature, confident and sometimes intimidating behaviour (from the ‘builder’), cheap price etc. It is decisions made on this basis that can lead to very significant problems and disputes, and this approach should be avoided at all costs.
In March 2012 the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) published their Home Repairs and Improvements Toolkit which in the introduction states: ‘In the 18 months from January 2009 to September 2010, advice service Consumer Direct received over 146,000 complaints from consumers about problems they had experienced with home repairs and home improvement projects’. As a result the OFT together with the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Trading Standards and Local Authority Building Control and Planning departments, launched a campaign to raise awareness amongst consumers around how to manage home repairs and building works.
Not an exhaustive list but still good advice