The Federation of Master Builders

Guidance for Consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic

You may be considering whether to start or continue with building works at this time.  We have prepared guidance for consumers when determining whether to undertake building works (pdf) which takes into consideration the latest government regulations and advice. Our members are encouraged to download a copy to share with clients when discussing a potential return to work.

We have also produced this video which takes you through the factors you and your builder need to consider before restarting work. 

 

Other points to consider at this time:

  • The Work Safe. Safe Work campaign provides additional information for consumers about what steps you need to take to prepare for work being carried out. It also suggests some key questions to ask of your builder before, during and after the work takes place.
  • Beware of rogue traders: The coronavirus crisis has unfortunately created conditions where fraudsters and people who are not skilled or professional builders will seize the opportunity to make money from homeowners who want to get work completed. If you are approached by anyone offering to finish work quickly and cheaply, be very careful of this. Trading Standards are reporting increased levels of such activity. It is better to be patient than to risk using rogue builders. Please use the FMB’s Find A Builder service for an independently vetted Master Builder company in your area.

  • Don’t complete the work yourself: Consumers should not be tempted to complete any work themselves, other than the normal finishing tasks such as painting and decorating. Consumers should definitely not attempt to do any work on gas and electricity installations, which should only be carried out by qualified and accredited individuals. Consult Electrical Safety First or Gas Safe for further details.

  • Don’t put pressure on your builder: Consumers should not pressurise their builder to cut corners in relation to protecting health and safety in order to get their building project completed. It is highly likely that working in accordance with current coronavirus guidance, which is over and above the existing health and safety law, will mean that building projects take longer to complete, and will therefore cost more. This requires collaborative and open discussion between the parties to agree a plan to get the work completed safely.

  • Don’t be a victim of cyber-crime: Builder and client should keep in touch remotely, so that everyone is updated on how things are going and any likelihood of work resuming. Unfortunately, there has been a rise in cyber-crime, particularly criminals hacking into email accounts in order to re-direct payments to the attackers’ bank account. Everyone should be very careful about payments going to the right account, and perhaps make a test payment of a small sum first, ensuring it has gone to the right place before transferring any large amounts. Make sure your anti-virus computer software is up to date, and do not click on links from unknown sources. The National Cyber Security Centre website has more advice.

  • Do be prepared to work collaboratively: Please work collaboratively with your builder and be realistic about likely delays to the work. This is the best way to get your project safely and successfully completed.

  • Reassure your neighbours: They may have concerns about the building work continuing, so you should reassure them that this is being done in accordance with FMB safety guidance.

Further guidance

We have produced detailed guidance for our members on what they should consider when planning a return to work and the rules that apply in their region. For the latest information on coronavirus and construction visit our Responding to coronavirus (COVID-19) page.  

Official advice is changing daily so you should check official sources of information before making any decisions about how to proceed and keep the situation under review. This document offers general guidance only. 

 

 

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