Rogue Traders

I reconnected with a primary school friend last week and as we chatted about children, husbands, our professions and homes, she let me know that she recently had an awful building experience with a disingenuous company. From delays to pressure for payment, the experience with these rogue traders sounded awful; not to mention at the end of it all she was missing tens of thousands of pounds… and half her roof! As she spoke, she hit on a lot of key points, things she wished someone had told her before she opened her home to rouge traders.

Rogue Traders

Rogue Traders BBC

I work for Landmark Lofts, so I really sympathised; I’ve heard a number of similar horror stories from clients who contract us to fix and finish their incomplete projects. So, in honour of everyone who’s ever been lied to and taken advantage of by a building company, I’ve compiled my friend’s tips; if this blog can help even one person, it was well worth the write-up!

Companies House

Companies House is an Executive Agency of the Department for Business and all limited companies in England are registered with them. They have over 3 million companies registered and keep track of lawsuits and complaints, so this is a perfect place to conduct a background check on a company you wish to contract. With Companies House you can also check the status of the company, if the accounts are up to date, who the company directors are as well as whether a business has ever traded under another name. Companies often encounter litigation and change their trading name to disassociate themselves from the bad press and complaints. Do not be fooled! You can order a full company report from Companies House for only £1 and get all the information necessary to make a sound decision.

Insurances & Professional Memberships

Find a reputable ombudsman backed company who provides insurance; not only for the materials and parts used, but for the entire project. Public liability and professional indemnity insurance guarantee your down payment and the total cost of the project in case of injury, bankruptcy or death. Accidents happen, so making sure you are covered in any and all situations should be a priority.

Along with insurances, professional associations is another key area to look at. Memberships with organisations like the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors ensures that your investment is protected. When you hire an endorsed firm, ultimately the professional authority in property and building is governing your project; RICS is authorised to step in and mediate issues between clients and companies. Insurances and accreditation really can give you total peace of mind.

 

Speak to Customers & Read Reviews

Most business can be found online and a quick Google search will often bring up reviews and testimonies. In addition to online searches, ask your prospective building company to put you in contact with two or three of their customers. Preferably ones whose projects have completed within the last 6 months, the more recent the better since companies can replace project managers and builders. Alternatively, companies can often allow you to view a few recently completed projects. This allows you to see their workmanship first-hand and speak candidly with previous customers.

We never discussed this up top but always avoid cash deals! They are especially dangerous and put you at risk since they are untraceable. All the tips above are not infallible but they do help to limit your risk and prevent you from being an easy target. If you have any additional tips that can help thwart bad businesses, let me know in the comments section below.

Aneliese

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About Aneliese Deane

I work for Landmark Lofts as a design consultant and here to help London Mums with their home improvements, decorating, space-saving techniques and maintaining a sense of style 🙂

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