The construction and loft conversion industry is facing challenges due to rising costs and supply chain disruptions, leading to many companies going out of business. Unfortunately, this has led to many firms going out of business, including a 60-year-old firm that recently called in liquidators. Read the full article here.
This has resulted in an increase in scams by unscrupulous builders and loft conversion companies in Sheffield, and across the South Yorkshire region. To avoid being scammed, it is important to get everything in writing, check online reviews carefully, speak to previous customers, read the salesperson, follow them on social media, avoid paying upfront, ensure some level of project management, and choose a VAT registered company.
To avoid falling victim to these scams, consider the following tips before hiring a builder or loft conversion specialist company in Sheffield and South Yorkshire:
1) Get Everything In Writing
Before starting the project, make sure you have a detailed proposal with all the specifications, including what warranty you will receive. The proposal should align with agreed architectural drawings, and you should sign a contract that includes a payment framework. After completion of the project, obtain a Building Control certificate, detail of the guarantees or warranties (at least a 10-year structural warranty), an electrical certificate if any electrical work has been done, and a Gas Safe certificate if any gas work has been done.
2) Word Of Mouth
Personal recommendations are invaluable when it comes to making informed decisions. While online reviews can be helpful, they should not be the sole basis for your decision-making process. Instead, take the time to seek out personal recommendations from people you trust and respect. These recommendations can provide valuable insights into a product or service that you may not find elsewhere. By speaking one-to-one with previous customers, you can gain a deeper understanding of their experiences and make a more informed decision. Remember, personal recommendations are often the most reliable source of information, so don't hesitate to ask for them.
3) Read The Sales Person
If the salesperson appears preoccupied with disparaging their competitors rather than concentrating on their own offerings, it should trigger a sense of caution. This behavior may indicate that they are attempting to settle a score, divert attention from their company's shortcomings in delivering quality service, or they lack comprehension of your project needs and objectives. They may also be evading questions about the project and its execution. To prevent any ambiguity or misinterpretations, it is crucial to establish clear communication with the salesperson and verify that they have a complete understanding of your requirements.
4) Follow Them On Social Media
Following the company on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest can give you a feel for what work they are doing mainly and whether they are busy in Sheffield and the local area. If they are busy, it is usually a sign that they are wanted. Additionally, if you are considering a loft conversion or raised roof, be sure to inquire about their experience and expertise in these areas.
5) If It Seems Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is
It's important to exercise caution when considering builders who claim they can start your project immediately. This is often an indication that they are either new to the industry or have a poor track record with previous clients. A reputable loft conversion or roof lift specialist, on the other hand, will typically have a waiting list of at least 12 months due to high demand for their services.
While it may be tempting to choose a builder who can start right away, it's important to remember that quality work takes time and careful planning. Rushing into a project without proper preparation can lead to costly mistakes and subpar results. By choosing a company with a proven track record and a solid reputation in the industry, you can ensure that your loft conversion project will be completed to the highest standards of quality and craftsmanship.
So if you're considering a loft conversion, be sure to do your research and choose a specialist company that has a long-standing reputation for excellence. Don't be swayed by promises of quick turnaround times or low prices - these are often red flags that indicate a lack of experience or a history of poor workmanship. Instead, opt for a company that is known for their professionalism, attention to detail, and commitment to delivering outstanding results.
6) Staged Payments & No Money Up Front
Never pay for building work upfront! Ensure you have a detailed proposal before starting and as part of your no money up front policy.It is highly recommended that you do not pay for any building work upfront. This is to protect yourself from potential scams or unfinished work. Instead, it is important to ensure that you have a detailed proposal before starting any construction project. This proposal should outline the scope of work, timeline, and cost breakdown.
By having a detailed proposal, you can avoid any misunderstandings or disagreements with the contractor. It also serves as a reference point throughout the project to ensure that everything is on track.
Furthermore, it is crucial to implement a no money up front policy. This means that you only pay for the work that has been completed and approved by you. This policy protects you from contractors who may take your money and never complete the job.
In summary, always make sure to have a detailed proposal before starting any building work and implement a no money up front policy to protect yourself from potential scams or unfinished work.
7) Some Level Of Project Management
Project management is an essential aspect of any project, and its importance only increases with the size of the project. It involves various tasks such as change control, regular communication, and documentation of fire, plumbing, and electrical plans for projects like loft conversion, roof lifts, or dormer conversions.
Change control is a crucial part of project management that ensures that any changes made to the project are documented, reviewed, approved, and implemented in a controlled manner. This helps to prevent any unexpected issues that may arise due to uncontrolled changes.
In project management, keeping everyone in the loop is key! Regular communication is essential to make sure that all stakeholders are up-to-date on the project's progress, any challenges that may come up, and any adjustments that need to be made. This way, we can all work together smoothly towards achieving our goals.
In addition to these, it is also important to have documented fire, plumbing, and electrical plans especially for any form of loft conversion, regardless of if the roof is being raised or not. These plans help to ensure that all safety measures are taken into consideration during the project and that the final result is safe and compliant with all relevant regulations.
Overall, basic project management is essential for any project, and it becomes even more critical for larger projects. By implementing change control, regular communication, and proper documentation, you can ensure that your project runs smoothly and is completed successfully.
8) Being Off The Books Or not Registered For VAT Often Implies Taking Shortcuts.
Cutting corners usually has a long-term impact, so be careful about the possible long-term costs of going "off the books." Ensure you have a full Building Control sign-off and regular inspections to get a Building Control Certificate at the end of the project. Additionally, ensure that the builder or loft conversion specialist company is VAT registered and has a publicly stated VAT register number along with their company number in region close to you, e.g. in South Yorkshire.
9) Check the builder’s insurance coverage and ask for a copy of their policy.
When building or renovating a property, it's important to check the builder's insurance coverage. This type of insurance covers accidents, damages, and injuries that occur during the construction process. Checking the builder's insurance coverage can protect against liability, ensure quality work, avoid fraud, and ensure everyone's safety. When reviewing the insurance policy, look at the level of coverage, exclusions, policy limits, and the claims process. Requesting a copy of the builder's insurance policy is a simple process and most reputable builders will have no problem providing you with copies of their insurance policy.
10) Trust Your Instincts - If Something Seems Off, Don’t Ignore It.
When it comes to choosing the right loft conversion specialist company in Yorkshire, it is important to trust your instincts. Your instincts are based on your intuition and past experiences, which can help you make a more informed decision. As we've said, it is also important to do your research and ask for recommendations from friends and family. Look for a company with experience, good reviews, and a portfolio of completed projects. Don't be afraid to ask questions and get a detailed quote before making a final decision.
Ultimately, trusting your instincts and doing your due diligence can help ensure that you choose the right loft conversion company for your needs.
We hope this helps you and your next loft conversion project
Implementing these simple ideas can significantly enhance the likelihood of a smooth project for your loft conversion, roof lift, or raised roof project and prevent any potential issues with your builder. If you have any concerns or questions during the process, do not hesitate to contact us for support. We are here to assist you in making your project a success!