Benefits for the Public
We are often asked...
"How do you find a good reliable builder, construction consultant, specialist contractor or supplier of building components?"
"Why should we use a member of the Guild of Builders and Contractors?"
Builders attract a tremendous amount of bad publicity in the media, much of it fully justifiable. Complaints include shoddy workmanship, excessive overcharging, failure to complete work on time, and aggressive behavior. The answer to the question "How do you find a good reliable builder?" is not simple. Good reliable builders are often extremely busy and sometimes unable to take on additional work for some months. Large and expensive advertisements by builders do not guarantee their competence or reliability. In the same way good reliable architects, construction consultants and specialist contractors are usually in demand.
A recommendation from a satisfied customer must be one of the best ways of finding a good builder, architect or construction consultant, but even this is not a guarantee that the firm recommended will do as good a job for you as he did for the person recommending him.
There are three ways in which the Guild of Builders and Contractors can be helpful in recommending a member.
Firstly we require all new applicants for membership to provide us with two references from people they have worked for in the recent past. We always write to the references supplied giving them information on the Guild of Builders and Contractors, the aims and objectives of the Guild and the standard we expect from our Members. Only when the referees have responded positively does the new application go forward for further consideration. Whilst it has to be accepted that this procedure is not foolproof, it does provide the basis on which a reasonable decision can be made to accept the new applicant as a Member.
Secondly we have a Trusted Member grade that is for members who have satisfied the required higher standards and continue to do so every year of membership. Due diligence check are carried out every year and include: financial and credit checks, the level and type of insurance cover and three additional client references.
Finally, we are vigilant in following up complaints about existing Members. We have a Complaints Procedure and where it is established that a Member has conducted business improperly or dishonorably, or in a way which is prejudicial to the interests of other Members of the Guild or the building industry generally or does not adhere to the Code of Conduct, membership is terminated. However careful we are in taking up references and checking the financial standing of the member we cannot guarantee that he will continue to work to a high standard or remain solvent. Always proceed with caution when appointing someone to carry out building work.
Many disputes between client and builder or consultant arise out of the lack of understanding about what is required or what is included, or perhaps more importantly, not included, in the estimate. It is very important that the client should fully explain the extent of the work required and it is equally important that the builder or consultant should clarify what his estimate includes and what it does not include. Ideally the specification of the work required should be in written form and include where appropriate drawings, and specific requirements such as, start date, finishing date, terms of payment and means of access. The builder or consultant should, of course, on all but the very smallest contract prepare a written estimate confirming what he has allowed for, the materials he is going to use, the start date and the length of time that he will need to carry out the work quoted for. He should also clearly indicate the terms of payment that he requires, including stage payment requirements and the final settlement. Members need to be vigilant about their financial arrangements and will need to be paid promptly as each stage is reached or where expensive materials are being procured. Monthly stage payments are normal but sometimes more frequent payments may be required.
Another area that is the subject of many disputes is "Variations". Variations occur when the client changes his specification or requirements after the estimate has been accepted, or where additional work is required that was not allowed for in the original estimate. It is far better to agree the financial implications of variations whether they are additions or omissions prior to additional work being carried out.
We hope that you will use a Member of the Guild of Builders and Contractors for your building work and we hope that you will advise us subsequently of the service that you received which we trust will be to a high standard.