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PRESS RELEASE / New contract empowers consumers against cowboy builders

Press release issued on behalf of DIY Doctor

A WEBSITE working to rid the UK of its cowboy builder problem has produced a contract to help empower consumers.

One third of British people who have fallen victim to a cowboy builder have ended up footing an average £1,592 for botched jobs.

One third of British people who have fallen victim to a cowboy builder have ended up footing an average £1,592 for botched jobs.

The free document, which can be accessed via diydoctor.org.uk provides an easy to understand contract to bridge the communication gap between homeowners and tradesmen.

The Desired Outcome Building Contract outlines the responsibilities of the homeowner and the builder in domestic building work, to save time and reduce the potential for setbacks and unforeseen costs.

“Consumers commonly place high emphasis on the price of the job and so therefore do their homework in getting quotes beforehand.  But often, this is where the precautionary measures end” commented business development director of DIY Doctor, Mike Edwards.

He continued:

“The majority of builders and tradespeople are honest operators who price their work fairly; a good contract should protect them as much as it protects the homeowner.  However, there are any number of unscrupulous rogue traders out there that will not think twice about landing a job by offering a very cheap price – and then spending the next week dreaming up a list of extras, or additional, unforeseen problems for which they will charge an arm and leg to overcome.”

Over the last five years DIY Doctor has surveyed over 100,000 people about their fears of having tradesmen in their homes.  Findings show the biggest fear of over 80 per cent of these homeowners to be that of feeling out of control – of both their home and the cost of the work.

Research published earlier this year by Santander Insurance showed rogue traders to have cost British homeowners £6.8 billion.  It reported that more than one third (37 per cent) of people who have fallen victim to a cowboy builder have ended up footing an average bill of £1,592 themselves.*

The aim of this new contract, written with the help of tradespeople, is to help both parties think the job through and be upfront about any possible changes or problems that could occur.  It benefits the homeowner and contractor in equal measures by setting out what is expected from both parties before embarking on a project.

The Desired Outcome Building Contract is recommended for domestic projects not exceeding £75,000 in value, where no architect, building surveyor or consultant is being employed to oversee and advise.

Mr Edwards added:

“The breakdown in communication between homeowner and tradesperson is often the problem.  By setting things out clearly from the start, there’s a far better chance that the end result will be successful for both the builder and customer.

“If you have a builder lined up for a job on your home who is unwilling to sign a contract, it’s better to steer clear.”

diydoctor.org.uk is the largest DIY information site in the world, run by a team of ex builders and offering over 22,000 pages of free information and advice.  Over 120,000 people visit the site each week, which offers free DIY advice, tips, hints and trade secrets from qualified tradesmen.  The site also features an interactive forum, a comprehensive range of step-by-step tutorials for DIY projects, a blog and a DIY jargon-busting dictionary.

Notes to editors:
*More on this research is available at http://www.debt-help-group.co.uk/cowboy-builders-have-cost-homeowners-6-8bn/201003/
An example of content in the new Desired Outcome Building Contract from DIY Doctor.  For further information or to receive a copy of the contract, visit DIY Doctor’s title=”http://www.diydoctor.org.uk/projects/Building-Contracts.htm”>building contracts project page.
Every material and product used during these works will operate in the way intended by the manufacturer.  Manufacturers’ recommendations for use will be followed at all times. Where a particular product or material is recommended to work alongside any other product or material, a similar product or material may be used providing it is of the same quality and its manufacture is intended to fulfil the use to which it is put by the workforce above.  Materials will always be of a satisfactory standard for the work required.
DIY Doctor’s business development director Mike Edwards was invited to present on How to avoid Cowboy Builders during this year’s National Home Improvement Show 2010 at Earls Court, at the beginning of October.  Videos of these presentations, which include information on protecting yourself as a homeowner when employing a tradesperson can be found on YouTube.

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