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  • FIRST POST
    • Annie1960
    • By Annie1960 7th Jun 17, 4:52 PM
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    Annie1960
    How would you stop cowboy builders before they cause problems?
    • #1
    • 7th Jun 17, 4:52 PM
    How would you stop cowboy builders before they cause problems? 7th Jun 17 at 4:52 PM
    Although most traders in the construction industry are genuine and do a good job, there are a significant number who do not, and cause untold misery to people.

    Figures from 2011 indicate that the OFT receives approximately 100,000 complaints each year, and the FMB estimated that £1.5bn is lost to cowboy builders each year.

    Most home owners who have been affected can take action through the civil courts, but wouldn't it be better if there was something in place to stop such people before they could ruin people's properties?

    The Estate Agency industry used to have a terrible reputation, and, having moved house a couple of years ago, it seems to me that many Estate Agents are complying with the current rules, and providing a fairly decent service. They are obliged to belong to a regulator/ombudsman, and they can lose their ability to trade if they step too far beyond the rules.

    Is it possible to come up with something similar for the construction industry?

    If you ruled the world, and could make up whatever rules you wanted, what would you do to stop cowboy builders and associated trades? You can suggest anything you think would help. so long as it is not illegal.

    To get the ball rolling, I would like to see all trades obliged to take credit card payments for work over a certain amount. This would need to be done without an intermediary such as Sage Pay, so that if, for example, Building Control failed to sign off the work and the builder walked away, the home owner would be able to get their money back from the credit card company.

    What would you suggest?
    Last edited by Annie1960; 07-06-2017 at 4:57 PM.
Page 4
    • Annie1960
    • By Annie1960 12th Jun 17, 9:32 AM
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    Annie1960

    The trouble is there have been countless government initiatives, OFT and trading standards campaigns and they all end in failure. It seems to be a basic human instinct to try and get something a bit cheaper or preferably free. That's why people go to dodgy foreign clinics for cosmetic surgery or get embroiled in internet scams with Nigerian oil tycoons etc etc.
    Originally posted by teneighty
    In my case I got a few quotes and was considering going for the middle one. I spoke to my architect and he recommended the middle builder., said his work was good. And yes, of course I asked him for references and went to see a previous job he had done locally.

    It was a very small, simple project and the architect felt it did not need professional supervision. The builder started work, and all seemed well.

    BC came for their first visit and all was well. The builder told me they did not want to come back until the roof was on, so he would take progress photographs. I later discovered this was a lie.

    The builder did some internal knock-through work while I was away (on a trip I had booked the year before). He made a complete botch of this and did not follow the instruction on the drawing and in our contract to make some inspection holes to check for a lintel before knocking through.

    He contacted me demanding more money, and did not seem at all interested in the safety aspects of what he had done, or that he had breached the contract.

    I called BC out to inspect on the day I returned home an they condemned all his work. He then ran away, making all sorts of excuses, blaming me, blaming the architect for drawings that did not make any sense, and blaming the inspector for being an idiot. And yes, there was a clause in the contract stating that if any of the work did not meet building regs the builder would be responsible for putting it right (but consumer legislation gives consumers this right anyway).

    A I was going to be away, he demanded payment in advance and said he would not do any more work if I did not pay.

    I was then left with a mess to sort out.

    How exactly was this my fault?

    He had lied about his building experience, he lied when he said BC did not want to come back and inspect until the roof was on, and he lied about just everything else. I later discovered he had done the same thing to at least one other customer.

    If there was a licensing system, he would not be able to do this to more than one family as his licence would be removed the first time he did this. Also, some easier way to get my money back would have helped rather than going through the civil courts, which is a very lengthy system.

    People like him make everyone in the construction industry look bad, whether you realise it or not.

    If people choose to get services abroad, that's a completely different matter. In Britain we regulate most things, but let anyone set themselves up as a builder with no barriers no entry and no meaningful regulation.
    Last edited by Annie1960; 12-06-2017 at 10:30 AM.
    • Annie1960
    • By Annie1960 12th Jun 17, 9:40 AM
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    Annie1960
    I'm certainly struggling with how the concept of a consumer paying a large deposit into a scheme is better for a client than keeping the retention money themselves.
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    A retention is of no use whatsoever if you get near the end of the work, the builder has lied about BC saying they did not want to see it until a late stage, and all the work is then condemned by BC.

    How do you think a retention helps in this scenario?

    A retention is useful for snagging, but not for cowboy work.
    • Annie1960
    • By Annie1960 12th Jun 17, 10:32 AM
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    Annie1960
    We haven't needed a builder for years but did have the following experience. We had a bungalow with a sloping drive which was in poor condition. We decided to get it block paved. We were new to the area and didn't know anyone who had work done. We got some quotes and went with the one we chose for the following reason. After giving us the quote he said he wouldn't need any money upfront, he would do the work and he only wanted paying when it was complete and we were happy. We did this and he made a superb job of it and built us a lovely wall as well. I don't know if this an unusual way of doing business but it worked for us.
    Originally posted by Murphybear
    This is a common way for driveway installers to work. However, try finding a builder to do an extension on this basis. If you find one, please let me know as I don't think they exist.

    It's not really small jobs that are the problem, it's the larger jobs where builders want staged payments.
    • the_r_sole
    • By the_r_sole 12th Jun 17, 10:40 AM
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    the_r_sole
    A retention is of no use whatsoever if you get near the end of the work, the builder has lied about BC saying they did not want to see it until a late stage, and all the work is then condemned by BC.

    How do you think a retention helps in this scenario?

    A retention is useful for snagging, but not for cowboy work.
    Originally posted by Annie1960
    Because if you use a standard contract, the work will have been inspected throughout and only the value of works on site will have been paid for (minus any defective works which don't meet regulations)
    Holding the money yourself in your own account is surely a better solution than putting money into a suppliers special account?
    Also you were saying this was to protect yourself against a contractor going bust, nothing at all to do with defective works...
    • Annie1960
    • By Annie1960 12th Jun 17, 12:53 PM
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    Annie1960
    Holding the money yourself in your own account is surely a better solution than putting money into a suppliers special account?

    I never mentioned a supplier's account. Where do you get this from?

    Also you were saying this was to protect yourself against a contractor going bust, nothing at all to do with defective works...
    Originally posted by the_r_sole
    I also never mentioned anything about a contractor going bankrupt. My comments are purely about cowboy builders.
    • the_r_sole
    • By the_r_sole 12th Jun 17, 1:06 PM
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    the_r_sole
    One interesting thing I came across recently when I ordered some flooring, was that the small local shop where I ordered belongs to a deposit scheme. I paid a deposit, and it is lodged within a scheme so if the shop goes out of business or anything happens my money will be returned to me.

    Maybe something like this could work in the building industry? They have done a similar thing for letting agents who hold deposits from people who rent property.
    Originally posted by Annie1960
    No, you didn't mention a deposit scheme run by a flooring supplier which protects against a company going out of business.... which was what my comment on retentions addressed.

    It's impossible to discuss with you when you don't take on board or even try to understand what you are being told. A retention in a formal contract would offer this protection, similarly a performance bond would and it would mean the money isn't paid out at all until a specified date, well after completion.
    Contracts protect against contractors going bust, work not being done to statutory regulations, paying upfront for work etc etc but the way you'll see it is that's me trying to blame customers or protect builders or some other nonsense.

    There's no point adding anything further, it's hitting a brick wall with someone that has a tiny bit of knowledge but knows better than everyone else, some of who spend their professional lives involved in the industry.
    • teneighty
    • By teneighty 12th Jun 17, 1:09 PM
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    teneighty
    The OP's situation would have been very easy to avoid.

    DO NOT MAKE PAYMENTS IN ADVANCE!

    Industry standard is to make payments in arrears once agreed stages have been completed and approved. How many times do people have to be told this?
    • Annie1960
    • By Annie1960 12th Jun 17, 1:10 PM
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    Annie1960
    In order to stop cowboys, then, the points you mention should be compulsory, and obviously they are not.

    Maybe the genuine builders are using such methods, but I have no problem with them, it's the cowboys I'm trying to address.
    Last edited by Annie1960; 12-06-2017 at 2:24 PM.
    • Annie1960
    • By Annie1960 12th Jun 17, 2:27 PM
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    Annie1960
    The OP's situation would have been very easy to avoid.

    DO NOT MAKE PAYMENTS IN ADVANCE!

    Industry standard is to make payments in arrears once agreed stages have been completed and approved. How many times do people have to be told this?
    Originally posted by teneighty

    You try and find a builder in this area who will do this. Typing in capitals does not add anything to your point, it just makes you sound hysterical.

    To turn your point around and address the question I originally asked, then, maybe it should be prohibited for builders to take payment in advance? This type of regulation would indeed be very helpful, but I can't see any of the builders in this area complying with it.
    Last edited by Annie1960; 12-06-2017 at 2:46 PM.
    • Annie1960
    • By Annie1960 12th Jun 17, 3:00 PM
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    Annie1960
    [QUOTE=the_r_sole;72686391]No, you didn't mention a deposit scheme run by a flooring supplier which protects against a company going out of business.... which was what my comment on retentions addressed.

    QUOTE]

    Ah, yes, I see what you mean. That was an example for a fairly small sum of money, and I suspect the format of any such scheme would need to be varied for the much larger sums paid to builders for something like an extension. An escrow, perhaps?

    It would need to be tied in to an arbitration scheme in case a dispute arose. Of course, the majority of contracts would not end in a dispute, only a small percentage.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 12th Jun 17, 3:02 PM
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    Doozergirl
    61 posts in and we're finally told what the agenda is. You might be annoyed, but it clouds your perception of everything we say and it clouds the way that you address people on this board.

    In all the posts on this board about cowboy builders, the vast majority of people do not follow any kind of process. Post this morning about a veritable stranger being given the keys to a job and left to it, I presume having been paid, is a case in point. Regulation isn't really going to stop people on either side behaving that way.

    Regulation may have helped you, or perhaps helped the person after you, but we don't know the full story. It is quite usual not to see the building inspector between floor slab and roof on and it's also quite normal to send photos to the inspector as evidence of insulation etc.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 12th Jun 17, 3:08 PM
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    Doozergirl
    You try and find a builder in this area who will do this. Typing in capitals does not add anything to your point, it just makes you sound hysterical.

    To turn your point around and address the question I originally asked, then, maybe it should be prohibited for builders to take payment in advance? This type of regulation would indeed be very helpful, but I can't see any of the builders in this area complying with it.
    Originally posted by Annie1960
    How many builders in your area did you actually know? I know a lot of builders and no one takes money up front unless a bespoke product is being created. I certainly can't see the likes of Anglian or Everest being prohibited from taking money up front!

    I suspect the capital letters come from repeatedly having to state the bleeding obvious.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 12th Jun 17, 3:12 PM
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    Doozergirl

    Ah, yes, I see what you mean. That was an example for a fairly small sum of money, and I suspect the format of any such scheme would need to be varied for the much larger sums paid to builders for something like an extension. An escrow, perhaps?

    It would need to be tied in to an arbitration scheme in case a dispute arose. Of course, the majority of contracts would not end in a dispute, only a small percentage.
    Originally posted by Annie1960
    How about a retention?! I'm failing to see what the point of an ESCROW account is. I don't think you understand how little of the amounts paid actually go to the builder's pocket. What % do you think should be paid into this account and when?
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • comeandgo
    • By comeandgo 12th Jun 17, 3:24 PM
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    comeandgo
    I also work in industry and while I can't suggest non may try and ask for payment up front, non of the better ones do. Many of my family members are hands on trades men, small one man bands, all working from job to job on word of mouth, if you want them, you have to wait.
    This workman who did such a bad job for you, have you named him and left feedback anywhere? If customers did this then maybe others would read it and make a decision on whether to use him.
    A bit like trip advisor but brick advisor.
    • Annie1960
    • By Annie1960 12th Jun 17, 7:18 PM
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    Annie1960
    61 posts in and we're finally told what the agenda is. You might be annoyed, but it clouds your perception of everything we say and it clouds the way that you address people on this board.

    In all the posts on this board about cowboy builders, the vast majority of people do not follow any kind of process. Post this morning about a veritable stranger being given the keys to a job and left to it, I presume having been paid, is a case in point. Regulation isn't really going to stop people on either side behaving that way.

    Regulation may have helped you, or perhaps helped the person after you, but we don't know the full story. It is quite usual not to see the building inspector between floor slab and roof on and it's also quite normal to send photos to the inspector as evidence of insulation etc.
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    But the second inspector sent me the notes from the first one, and the builder had lied.
    • Annie1960
    • By Annie1960 12th Jun 17, 7:20 PM
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    Annie1960
    How many builders in your area did you actually know? I know a lot of builders and no one takes money up front unless a bespoke product is being created. I certainly can't see the likes of Anglian or Everest being prohibited from taking money up front!

    I suspect the capital letters come from repeatedly having to state the bleeding obvious.
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    You would be surprised at how many I spoke to. All wanted money up front. Perhaps its geographical. Architect also confirmed this is normal around here.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 12th Jun 17, 7:21 PM
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    Doozergirl
    Why did you have another inspector?
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 12th Jun 17, 7:22 PM
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    Doozergirl
    You would be surprised at how many I spoke to. All wanted money up front. Perhaps its geographical. Architect also confirmed this is normal around here.
    Originally posted by Annie1960
    Was your architect regulated? He doesn't sound all that with it!
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Annie1960
    • By Annie1960 12th Jun 17, 7:22 PM
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    Annie1960
    I also work in industry and while I can't suggest non may try and ask for payment up front, non of the better ones do. Many of my family members are hands on trades men, small one man bands, all working from job to job on word of mouth, if you want them, you have to wait.
    This workman who did such a bad job for you, have you named him and left feedback anywhere? If customers did this then maybe others would read it and make a decision on whether to use him.
    A bit like trip advisor but brick advisor.
    Originally posted by comeandgo

    I have taken all possible actions against him to try and stop him doing this to others, Architect has also done the same, and his actions are probably more potent than mine.
    • Annie1960
    • By Annie1960 12th Jun 17, 7:24 PM
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    Annie1960
    Why did you have another inspector?
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    Because it took me a while to find another builder, and in the meantime the first inspector had moved job.

    The second inspector went beyond her normal remit and briefed me on the work as it went along.
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