How to avoid building work disputes

How can you avoid problems with builders or decorators? Follow our five-step guide and make sure you get the job done to a high standard.

1 Avoid timing issues

To avoid timing issues, such as work starting late or over-running, either include timings in your contract, or agree them with your builder, in writing if possible. 

And remind your builder that services must be supplied within a reasonable amount of time under the Consumer Rights Act, which superseded the Supply of Goods and Services Act on 1 October 2015.

Never leave anything to chance and always discuss and put in writing everything that's been agreed. 

2 Agree a fixed price

Agree a fixed price wherever the extent of the work can be determined in advance, and ask what rates you’ll be charged for work that can’t be priced.

3 Don't settle for a poor job

Picking a good trader is key. But the Supply of Goods and Services Act says that all building work must be carried out with reasonable care and skill, with materials of satisfactory quality that are fit for purpose.

4 Agree rubbish clearance

Agree at the start – preferably in writing – who is responsible for getting rid of rubbish. 

If you don't do this, you may find that you're left with a huge ugly pile of rubbish cluttering up your garden - or worse, the pavement.

5 Ensure good communication

Make sure you’ve got more than one way to reach your builder – preferably by phone, email and fixed address. 

Ensure that you talk to your builder throughout the project and discuss issues that arise. Regularly being updated on the build will help you feel in control and will allow you to ask any questions or raise any concerns you may have. 

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