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Builders / Contractors

Make a contract!

Optimist? – Pessimist? – try Realist!

We all have our dreams of the perfectly built house. This is called optimism

We have all heard of nightmare scenarios involving builders. This might lead to pessimism and negative attitudes

Realism suggests we hope for the best and plan to avoid the worst. Hey presto – Make a contract!

With anything but the smallest of jobs it pays to have a contract with any builders, contractors or sub-contractors you may employ.There are various contracts available but probably the best is the JCT 05 Short Form of Sub-Contract (ShortSub) available from the RIBA bookshop. This costs £19.27 + VAT

Until recently the Federation of Master Builders did two free contracts but they seem to have ceased supporting them. These were:

  • F220.  Domestic contract for minor building work for work up to the value of about £50,000
  • F222.  Domestic Building Contract for work up to the value of about £500,000)

Even with very small jobs it pays to at least get things down on paper or in emails, especially changes as the job goes along. It’s amazing how selective people’s memories can become when money is involved.

Finding sub contractors

The National Specialist Contractors Council may be a good place to find specialist sub contractors. ‘NSCC brings together 32 specialist trade organisations representing businesses engaged in the planning, design, construction, refurbishment, and maintenance of the built environment in both the commercial and domestic sectors.’

Competent persons

With certain types of work such as electrical and plumbing installation work and the installation of certain fixed building services (heating, hot water, air-conditioning, mechanical ventilation) there are competent person schemes which allow contractors to self certify for Building Regulations approval. This may save money because the BCB will not charge for inspecting that item of work.

Trustmark scheme

The government’s Trustmark Scheme has been developed to help the general public avoid cowboy traders.


Scotland also has its Construction Licensing Executive (CLE) which performs a similar rôle

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