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Cowboy Builder

In the wake of the Government’s announcement that grants of up to £10,000 will be given to homeowners as part of the Green Homes scheme, which covers works such as insulation, well-known companies like Pioneer are getting booked up. It’s a great boost for the industry, but there will be some unscrupulous firms who take advantage and the last thing you want is to hand your money over to a cowboy.

To ensure that you receive a professional, properly priced service, follow our 10 step cowboy checker:

1. Do your research and look at Companies House, accreditation bodies and speak to the energy efficiency representative at your local council to see if they are approved installers.
2. Take a close look at the firm’s testimonials as even something like Checkatrade is not foolproof. Do the company reviews sound as if they might be written by the same person?
3. Go and see previous work from your selected installers and speak to their previous customers if you can.
4. Make sure your installer is accredited for the Green Homes scheme.
5. Don’t take anybody’s word for it. Don’t fall for sales speak or a lovely website. Ask to speak to customers who have used the contractor you are considering.

Does the firm have an insurance backed guarantee?

6. Ask whether the companies have their own employees or use subcontractors as this can have a critical impact on the quality of work you end up with.
7. Use specialist companies because works such as external wall insulation is a specialist skill. Builders or renderers may very well possess these skills, but don’t take it for granted.
8. Does the firm offer an insurance backed guarantee? If you decide to go ahead, you should be given relevant documentation ahead of the job starting.
9. There are various methods of external wall insulation and insulation materials have different quality levels. Are you being sold a budget system or a top one?
10. Give yourself time to decide. Don’t let anyone pressure you into making a quick decision as you are spending a large sum of money on your home.

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