Before you start a large repair or maintenance project a property surveyor or architect should produce a condition survey which will give you a detailed appraisal of the work needed, outlining urgent work and repairs that can be scheduled in over time.
To find a surveyor contact the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
To find an architect contact the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland.
Selecting a Contractor
The National Federation of Roofing Contractors has strict codes of conduct for members and also a very useful website which allows you to find NFRC members in your area so you can contact them.
For stonework a specialist will give the best advice. For information on appropriate contractors in your area contact Stone Federation Great Britain.
For other works The Federation of Master Builders will help you locate a tradesman in your area.
As a rule of thumb you should obtain two or three quotes from contractors. Check that they:
- Have indemnity insurance
- Can provide references (which you should check)
- Are VAT registered
- Offer guarantees or a complaints service via a trades association
- If you own a historic building you should also ensure your contractor has conservation accreditation.
Dealing with Contractors
Before you sign a contract you should agree in writing:
- A fixed price (where conditions for possible changes are outlined)
- Retention of 5% of the fees to meet any defects not sorted by the contractor
- Start and completion dates
- The named site supervisor
- Your contact details for instructions
- The person to whom complaints should be made
- That health and safety regulations will be respected
- That the builder will obtain all consents such as skip licenses and so on
- Any areas of the site that are off limits to the contractor
- Arrangements for access to water, toilets and electricity
- Levels of cleanliness and reinstatement of damage expected at the end of the works