These days the first place we turn to for answers is google. This week we have compiled some of the most googled questions about builders and have provided the answers for them right here! Jeffery and Wilkes are London’s leading Building Contractors.
- 1. When are Builders Allowed to work?
There is nothing worse than being woken up early on a Saturday morning to banging and drilling from nearby builders!
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question as it depends on each local authority, but there is a general guide for the UK. Under the Control of Pollution Act 1974, noisy work is generally not permitted outside of these hours:
Monday – Friday: 8am – 6pm
Saturday: 8am – 1pm
Sundays and bank holidays: no noisy work is permitted!
If the builders are making a racket outside of these hours, the first port of call would be to go and speak to them, this is usually the best way to deal with the situation. If this does not work then you can complain to the local authority, who will need to send someone out to check and if they agree they will issue them with a warning.
If they ignore the warning(s) they could be slapped with fines of up to £20,000.
- 2. Are Builders Regulated?
No, they are not regulated.
If the work falls under building regulations then building control are responsible for checking the work is compliant although they cannot really get involved in quality issues or disputes.
There are schemes builders can join such as Which & FMB who check the references & financials etc., of prospective builders.
The best thing to do is try and safeguard yourself from the beginning by vetting your builders. The following two articles will help on our blog section of the website:
How to avoid cowboy builders
What questions should I ask my builder
- 3. Are Builders Allowed to Burn Rubbish On Site?
- It is illegal to burn construction or demolition waste.
They could apply for an exemption to burn certain materials such as untreated timber but they would need to be issued with an exemption before they could do this.
4. When Builders Let You Down
There is nothing more frustrating than when builders let you down! Not turning up on the day they said they would work – endless days where no or very few workers are on site and your project is taking much longer than you expected. What can you do if you find yourself in this situation?
Firstly, revert back to your original agreement, were you provided with a timeline, a contracted start and finish date?
If none of this was agreed in the initial instance, then you need to get it put into place now and in writing. Sit down with your builder and get some commitment. What completion date are you working to? what will happen week by week to get there? What items need to be ordered and when, to ensure there are no delays?
If your builder is playing up then set up a morning call with them each day and have them confirm what will be happening that day; then, the next morning check that the previous day’s work was completed. If you keep the pressure on you will keep them on their toes.
If there is a delay, make sure you know the reason why. In some cases it might be unavoidable, however just because they can’t get on with one task doesn’t mean there isn’t something else that can be done in the meantime to ensure the job is completed on time.
When you are considering which builder to choose for your project ask them if they have a late penalty clause. If they do, you might be able to get money back if they run overtime with your project which will incentivise them to complete on time too!
If you are in the initial stages of finding a builder our article on ‘What Questions Should I ask my Builder’ below will help you
5. Are Builders’ Deposits Refundable?
This question very much depends on the circumstances and the contract you have signed with the builder.
A contract might state that the deposit is non-refundable, but if the job is not due to start for another couple of months and if the builder is able to find another customer in the time, s/he should be fair and come to a reasonable accommodation with the customer. On the other hand, if a day before the job is due to start the customer cancels, the builder will have booked out the time for the workers to do the work, possibly ordered materials etc., so in this case they might take a large chunk, if not all, of the deposit amount.
Deposits charged should only be a small percentage of the building works; it is very common for companies to charge a 5-10% deposit. Some companies may insist on deposits of 30% for large projects; this is very risky to go ahead with.
There is also the risk that a company could go bust during the time that they have your deposit. With this in mind, working with companies that offer deposit protection schemes can give you peace of mind that your money is safe should the company go bust.
If you disagree with the amount of deposit your builder is holding back and you cannot negotiate a solution, citizen’s advice have information on what you can do next.
6. Can Builders Lay Bricks in the Rain?
No. Builders should not lay bricks in the rain. If the bricks get wet and mortar runs out it makes a mess. Also, when rain water hits salt it causes a chemical reaction which will make the brickwork look unsightly.
- 7. Why Do Builders ask for Cash in Hand?
Many people ask, isn’t it illegal to pay someone cash in hand? The answer is ‘no,’ it is not and it is the builder’s responsibility to declare all of his earnings whether they be by cash or bank transfer.
However if you do not get a receipt it will be difficult to pursue a claim if there are issues later. Also trading standards and insurance companies are more reluctant to get involved if there is not a clear paper trail.
What are the reasons builders ask for cash? Some want to avoid falling into the VAT bracket; others want to avoid tax/VAT; others want it for cashflow, to pay certain contractors that only accept cash etc., i.e. there are various reasons, some legitimate and some not so.
- 8. Builders – When to Pay
Before the work even begins, before signing a contract even, ensure the builder sends you the payment schedule of when payments need to be made and the amount.
Some builders will request a percentage weekly or 2-weekly but if possible avoid that because if they are running behind on a project, yet you are still meant to transfer the same amount weekly, all of a sudden you could have paid for 90% of the work when only 10% has been completed. This will likely cause problems later if there is a dispute.
A fair payment schedule is payment when key stages are met, that way you are only paying when you know certain stages are complete. Always ensure there is a retainer to pay on completion in case there are snags that need to be completed.
- 9. When Builders make Mistakes
If a builder has done work and there is a mistake/mistakes what should you do? Firstly, talk to the person who arranged the work (even if they sub-contracted parts of it).
Take pictures of the mistake and document it, make notes of the date and time etc. Report it to the tradesman. Normally this will be all you need as they will send someone out to fix the problem. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 says that reasonable care and skill must be used whilst working.
If they do not fix it within a reasonable time you are within your rights to ask for a refund or a discount off your bill so that you can get the problem rectified by a different tradesman.
If it is dangerous or unsafe then you need to take extra caution and let your local authority know of your concerns.
If you cannot come to an agreement you should check your contract and follow the complaints’ procedure; if this does not work you can check if they are part of a trade association or explore an alternative dispute resolution’ (ADR); the very last resort would be to make a court claim.
- 10. Where do Builders go to the Toilet?
Yes, believe it or not this is one of the most googled questions about builders. This often depends on you.
If you are happy for the workmen to use your bathroom or toilet they will use it but many homeowners prefer not to have the builders using their toilet. In this instance a builder would hire a portaloo which would be an additional cost to you. So, either you pay a bit more and have the bathroom to yourself or you save a bit of money but put up with scruffy workmen in your bathroom.
We know if you are having building work completed or considering extending then you will likely have many questions so Jeffery & Wilkes try to put together as many helpful guides and blog posts to answer those questions for you. If you can’t find an answer to a question on our site, please feel free to give us a call on 020 88193883 or email firstname.lastname@example.org