Homeowner Advice

What to look out for

Regardless of the type of work or size of the job, a contractor should always complete the improvements in a timely manner to the highest possible standard. FENSA members have undergone stringent vetting processes to enable them to self-certify compliance with the relevant Building Regulation.

Referral

From family and friends remains one of the most popular ways to hire a contractor. Speak to family friends and neighbours to find out their experiences.

Shop around

Always ask for REFERENCES, but more importantly follow these up! Remember that the cheapest quote is not always necessarily the best quote as a good contractor is always in demand. Get at least three estimates (the more the better) and compare the estimates given by different companies so you can see if you are being quoted like for like.

Get EVERYTHING in writing

Any estimates, timeframes should all be agreed in writing, use written contracts and agree on a completion date, this avoids confusion later down the line.

Protect Upfront Payment

Some disreputable companies may try to get you to pay cash upfront to secure a 'one time only offer' or 'special deal'; if there is a problem later it is very unlikely you will be able to get this money back without deposit protection. If the company requires you to pay a deposit, ensure the company offers deposit indemnity and obtain proof or a receipt for any deposits paid. The deposit should not exceed the indemnity value of the installer’s deposit protection insurance. However if you have to and the goods cost more than £100, try to pay by credit card. That way, if anything should go wrong you can claim against the credit card company.

Insurance

Is there adequate insurance cover and is their work guaranteed? Any reputable company offers its’ own guarantee. However it is now a legal obligation that all domestic glazing installers registered with a scheme like FENSA provides insurance backing of the guarantee, this covers your installation should the company cease to trade within the life of that guarantee.

VAT-free urgent work

Consumer Protection: Your Rights

When you buy goods or services you are covered by the normal consumer protection laws. On the 1st of October the Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into force, replacing a number of existing laws (Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Supply of Good and Services Act 1982) within the United Kingdom. The act has been introduced in an effort to ease the process of problem resolution between consumers and businesses. The legislation covers:

  • The sale and supply of goods
  • The supply of services
  • Digital content
  • Mixed contracts
  • Returns policies
  • Unfair contract terms
  • Trading standards – inspections & powers

You can read more about consumer questions on our Homeowner Advice section or for more information about support and guidance you can visit:

 

What to avoid

How to secure an honest and reliable contractor for your home improvement work

Across the UK there seems to be an alarming increase in the number of homeowners reporting dodgy contractors. These ‘rogue traders’, otherwise known as ‘cowboys’, seem to have infiltrated the home improvements sector. Most businesses operate in an honest and reliable manner but across all industries there remains the view who will tarnish the reputation of others. How do homeowners know what to look out for when engaging an installation company and what to avoid?

Identification

FENSA has recently launched a membership ID called the FENSA Card. As we begin to roll this ID scheme out to all our membership base, you will increasingly see more tradesmen displaying the FENSA Card to verify their ID credentials. This is one way FENSA is proactively helping homeowners.

Inform yourself

The more you know the better. Learn more about the work you would like the contractor to undertake – research them.

References

Ask the contractor about previous jobs and check their online feedback.

Contract

Always insist on written contracts. FENSA members always provide a written contract.

Cheap Deals

Special arrangements such as ‘one day only’ offers is one way rogue traders put pressure on you to part with your cash.

Timeframes

Ensure you are provided with clear timeframes.

Opposition

They may be underhanded and put down their competitors.

Premises

A rogue trader will often provide inadequate contact details, such as just a mobile number. A reputable company should provide business cards with full details including; name, registered business address and contact numbers.

Availability

Contractors who have a good reputation are often in high demand.

Logo misuse

Sometimes contractors claim membership of professional bodies or trade associations, remember to always check their credentials. Check if your installation company is a FENSA member here.

If things go wrong

If you have a query about work that you have had completed by a FENSA member in relation to compliance with the Building Regulations, please use this questionnaire to determine your next course of action. Please note, in the first instance all queries and complaints should be taken up directly with the installation company.

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