Contracts key to peace of mind for homeowners, say builders

Homeowners who fear being ripped off by their builder should insist on a written contract, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).  

FMB chief executive Brian Berry said on 5 November: “Our own research shows that 55 per cent of home owners fear being ripped off by their builder but if consumers follow a few simple steps, they need not worry.

“Always insist on having a written quote and contract in place before work begins so both parties know what is expected of them. All FMB members can provide their customers with a free written contract as standard and can also offer a warranty on their work once it’s completed.”

Adam Davis, an associate solicitor at Palmers specialising in construction law, said: “Putting a contract in place will give homeowners peace of mind that they are protected in the event of a dispute, for example because the builder has charged more than was agreed or the work was not completed to the standard required or in the way that was originally specified.

“It will also aid in the running of the project and record the precise intention of the parties as to specification and standard of works, which significantly reduces the chance of a dispute occurring.

“Many construction companies seek to incorporate their own standard contracts or industry standard contracts, which are not entirely favourable to homeowners and focus heavily on payment and avoiding liability for defects that can occur. We can review standard contracts and revise them to meet individual requirements or draft bespoke contracts for specific projects.

“Putting such a contract in place represents a sensible investment in avoiding a potentially costly and time-consuming dispute at a later stage. For more information, please contact our Construction team.”