Every industry comes with its own unique set of rules and best-practice. And as much as being self-taught is a great way to go and a fine way to learn from your own mistakes, there is something to be said for an actual qualification to put after your name. In some industries or professions, these degrees are mandatory – you wouldn’t for example, let a self-taught doctor perform a kidney transplant on you. One of the fields where people tend to be a little more relaxed is in the field of building and construction – for the most part homeowners don’t ask for qualifications before engaging somebody to work on their house. But perhaps they should. Here are a few things to consider before contracting somebody to do work on your most expensive asset.

What underpins it all

A builder doesn’t need to have a qualification, he could have worked his way up through the ranks from apprentice to master. Or he could have completed building and construction courses online. There are many ways to learn a trade, but the key here is to ask the question – ‘where did you learn and under whom did you train?’ If they are able to answer this question to your satisfaction, then you are probably onto a good thing.

Ask for references

If the above question is reasonably answered then you can move to the next step, which is asking for references. And don’t just ask for one reference, ask for several. Then follow up by speaking to the people and looking at the standard of work that was completed. It isn’t just finding somebody who will vouch for your potential contractor, it is about making sure that their standards and yours align. There are plenty of people who consider cheap and nasty to be good. If you are looking for quality and attention to detail, then the references and the results might not actually align. 


There are plenty of bodies to which builders can belong. Thing like the Master Builders Association which have certain standards and codes of conduct and practice. Find out to whom your contractor is affiliated because if things do go awry, it is to these bodies that you will be able to appeal and from whom you will seek redress and justice. Also, do some checking. Don’t just assume that some letters or names at eth bottom of a quote mean anything – there are plenty of free to join associations that are easy to affiliate with and who are toothless when it comes to enforcing laws and best practice.

Safeguard yourself

Before committing to having work done, make sure that you have a contract in place. And before you play the final tranche of money to the builder, make sure that you are completely happy with the work that they have done. If you hand over the final payment while there is still work outstanding, then you may as well go ahead and finish the job yourself. Only ever complete payment once everything is completed to your satisfaction and as per the details outlined in the contract that you both signed at the start of the job.