Complaints and disputes
All Members are required to have their own internal complaints management process, suited to the size and nature of their business.
All Client complaints should be first dealt with by the Member. Only when the client has exhausted the Member's complaints system, or becomes dissatisfied with it, should the Guild of Builders and Contractors become involved.
The Guild of Builders and Contractors complaints management process is available to all Clients and Members, at no cost to the Clients or the Members. The process includes arrangements for appeals in respect of disciplinary actions proposed by the Guild of Builders and Contractors against Members. Appeals may be made by Clients or Members. The process is monitored and reviewed by the Directors and the Membership Committee.
If a Client wishes to make a complaint it must be made in writing, by post or email, and sent to The Complaints Handler at The Guild of Builders and Contractors Head Office.
All complaints are recorded and are acknowledged within 7 working days. The complainant is advised in the letter of acknowledgement of:
- the Guild's Complaints Management Process;
- the action that has been taken and the likely course of events and their timescales.
The complainant is asked to provide a full set of documentary evidence including: copies of original estimates, correspondence, drawings, specifications, planning approvals and other material relevant to the work which is the subject of the complaint. The complainant is also asked to provide a written statement giving full details of the complaint as well as a brief history of the relationship with the Member. The complainant is asked to provide details of any payments made to the Member.
The Guild reviews the information provided and if necessary seeks further clarification of any matters that are not totally clear. Where appropriate the
Guild seeks copies of any surveyor's reports or other evidence provided by experts. The Member is then sent copies of all items received from the complainant and a full explanation is requested. The Member is given 14 days to respond to the complaint.
The Member may request additional time to respond to the complaint and he may be given up to 28 days additional time. If the Member fails to respond at all or fails to provide a full explanation within the time period, he will be given 14 days notice of the Guild's intention to convene a meeting of the Disciplinary Committee which will consider the case for terminating his membership.
If the Member responds to the complaint with what appears to be a full explanation supported by documentary evidence and statements where appropriate, the complainant is asked to comment on the information provided by the Member. The complainant is sent copies of all documents provided by the Member. The complainant is asked to respond to the information provided by the Member within 14 days. On receipt of a request the complainant will be given additional time of up to 28 days to respond. The Member will be provided with details of the response by the complainant and will be given a final opportunity to respond to the complaint.
Where the facts are disputed the Guild may arrange for a conciliator to investigate the complaint and seek an agreed resolution. Some complaints may be unsuitable for conciliation, for example where the Client refuses access or refuses to allow the Member to return to rectify faults. Where the conciliation is not considered appropriate the Client and/or Member may be offered, at their cost, independent adjudication or arbitration.
The details, provided by the complainant and the Member, will be reviewed by the Disciplinary Committee. If, after reviewing the details, the Disciplinary Committee believes there has been an infringement of the Code of Practice, action appropriate to the nature of infringement, after considering any other relevant complaints history, will be recommended to the Membership Committee. The range of actions includes dismissing the complaint to censure or ultimately the removal of the Member from The Guild of Builders and Contractors.
The Member will be given the opportunity of presenting his case to the Membership Committee in person. The Member will also be given the opportunity of being represented by a solicitor or other advisor. The Member will be advised of the decision of the Membership Committee within seven days of the hearing. The complainant will also be given notice of the decision within seven days.
The Membership Committee is not bound to provide detailed reasons for its decision however it may do so where it finds it appropriate.