You can expect a builder – who is a member of the Builders Guild (or alternatively the Federation of Master Builders) to live up to their Code of Conduct. If they fail to do so, there is a prepared process of managing the dispute.

This Code of Conduct is not only useful when working with builders that adhere to it – but it is also a very good guideline of what you can expect any reliable builder to adhere to.

If the builder tells you that it is not normal practice then refer them to this section – or look for another builder.

Builders Guild Code of Conduct

1) Comply with the law.
This requirement involves working in accordance with any relevant statutory requirements that may apply to the work undertaken by the Builder.

2) Have particular regard to matters of health and safety.
Members must ensure that work is carried out with due care to avoid causing danger and unreasonable nuisance.

3) Provide clients with clear information about services offered and guarantees of workmanship and/or financial protection.
Clients must be clear about the nature and extent of the work that will be done. Assurances must be given about the workmanship, materials (which must be fit for purpose) and appearance involved prior to the commencement of any work. This should involve providing the Client with a written Contract. Where appropriate, e.g. large or complex jobs, provide further guidance to clients about obtaining additional professional advice.

Documentation detailing the financial protection provided shall be provided before the work is started. Insurance certificates, warranties, and the like shall be handed over promptly on completion of the works.

4) Provide clients with clear information of the price for the work to be undertaken and the method of payment.
Clients need clear information on the cost involved in doing the work and whether this represents an estimate or firm quotation. Members must agree the price for the job and how they wish to be paid, e.g. on completion or in stages. This should involve providing the client with a written quotation. Full payment should not normally be requested in advance.

5) Provide clients with a clear timetable for any works to include a completion date.
Clients need to know when work will start, the particular implications of any stages of work and when work will be finished. Members must provide clients with appropriate information for each job prior to starting any work. Clients will also need to be kept fully aware of any alterations to timetables and explanations for changes should always be given.

6) Work in a competent and responsible manner.
Work must be carried out to comply with relevant standards. This involves the Builder being confident of his ability to do the work. The Builder shall act in a courteous manner and respect the privacy and property of the client.

7) Maintain skills and knowledge.
Members must keep up to date with changes in building practices appropriate to the services they offer.

8) Seek to ensure client satisfaction through the provision of a clear method for handling client complaints.
Members must provide a clear method for considering customer complaints and, where appropriate, offer redress. Complaints should be dealt with promptly and within a clearly understood timescale. Members shall inform clients of their right to seek redress from the Guild of Builders and Contractors.

9) Uphold the standing of the Guild of Builders and Contractors Guarantee Scheme.
All Members must seek to uphold the standing of the Guild of Builders and Contractors Guarantee Scheme with a view to enhancing its support from clients.

The Federation of Master Builders offers a similar scheme:

Get your financial arrangements right:

  • Pay builders in stages;
  • Hold back at least 10% of the job for snags – the little things that haven’t been done – any honest builder will go along with this;
  • Avoid paying a deposit if at all possible.

People fall into the hands of unscrupulous builders because they think they can save a bit of money. If your budget is too tight, cut something out of it, rather than risk a bargain basement price with the risk that that entails.

The main temptation and risk is to offer to pay cash for a building job. This means that the builder may not declare or charge VAT.

This is not only illegal but may end up costing you much, much more in the long run.

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Daniel Peacock

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