More of us than ever are choosing not to move to a bigger home, instead opting to stay put and make improvements to our existing space. There is no end to the range of home improvements which can be done, but the most popular include upgrading the central heating, installing double glazing, installing a conservatory or converting a loft. Although the vast majority of companies are trustworthy and reputable, there are some real cowboys out there, so follow these simple tips to avoid a home improvement nightmare.
Central Heating and Boiler Work
When getting anyone into your house to do work on your gas boiler or central heating, the key thing to remember is that you must ensure that the worker is Gas Safe registered. Gas Safe took over from CORGI as the registration body for engineers in 2009, and you can check their website to find businesses who are registered in your area. Never accept a cheaper quote from someone who is not on the register as the work may well be dangerous and the engineer will be operating illegally.
For any building work such as loft conversions or extensions, the best way of finding a good builder is to ask around friends or family who have had similar work done recently. Don’t be afraid to knock on neighbours’ doors and ask them if they are happy with people who recently carried out work for them, and if you are working with an architect on plans, they can be a good source of contacts too. Never pick a name at random from the Yellow Pages, or even worse, agree to expensive work when someone knocks on the door out of the blue.
Adding a conservatory onto your house not only gives you additional living space but can add to the value of your property too. The good news is that in many cases you don’t need planning permission for conservatories. UK law generally allows you to put up a small conservatory without permission, but a good conservatory company will keep you right with the legislation on conservatories. UK companies vary in the sorts of conservatories they offer, so do your research online and with friends and target the companies you are interested in, before asking several for a quote.
FENSA is the regulatory body for double glazing companies in the UK, and they cover both the manufacture and the installation of your new windows. Not all companies are FENSA registered and this does not necessarily mean they should be avoided, as membership is optional. Choosing a member of FENSA will give you additional protection and a third party to arbitrate should things go wrong with your chosen contractor. Shop around to get the most competitive quote and take a note of the names of businesses who you see operating regularly in your local area. Finally, don’t assume that the big national firms will give you a better deal than the small, independent firm.
About the Author
Morag Peers is a keen blogger who writes on a number of important topics. Check out profile on Google+ now