The home owner is responsible for finding a contractor to carry out work. Even where work is grant funded and signed-off by a local authority, the contract for work is between the owner and the tradesperson, so it is important to think about who you will use to carry out work on your home, to ensure that:
- The trader is competent – do they have the skills needed to do the job well using the right materials?
- The trader is reputable – what recourse would you have if there was a problem?
It is good practice to obtain three like-for-like quotations for work in writing. Ask for details of what will be done and what materials will be used. Don’t automatically choose the cheapest quotation.
Avoid rogue traders. Always make the first approach by contacting companies and asking for quotations rather than getting quotes from cold callers who approach you out of the blue. The Nail The Rogues campaign estimates that every year 89,000 householders in the UK are fleeced by rogue door-to-door home maintenance traders masquerading as professionals. If a job is done poorly, using the wrong materials, you may end up spending even more money to get it put right.
Save money by proactive maintenance. Dealing with repairs when they are small is much more cost effective than leaving things until a major repair is unavoidable. Small jobs like cleaning gutters and downpipes and painting windowsills can reduce the risk of damage that will cause major disrepair to homes.
Homes built before 1919 may need specialist skills to carry out repairs. Historic Scotland can provide advice on looking after traditional buildings.
There is no list of recommended contractors. The Scottish Government cannot recommend individual traders and a list would require constant monitoring and checking by people with expertise in the quality of completed work. New companies appear and good employees move between companies regularly, so there is difficulty in assuring a list is current and valid. However, the Scottish Government recommends using tradespeople who are members of professional trade schemes, and the following resources can be useful for home owners to find reputable local electricians.
Consumer protection is reserved to the UK Government at Westminster and the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline is a UK Government funded service that provides clear, practical advice on all consumer issues, its telephone number is 08454 04 05 06. The interests of consumers are important to the Scottish Government and we would urge anyone with experience of rogue firms to contact the Helpline.