Here are some tips for avoiding having to raise a dispute in the first place:
- Check that your builder is a current member of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), using our Find a Builder Service.
- Make sure you ask for a quote rather than an estimate, and have a written copy of the quote and work agreed.
- Develop a brief that is well thought out, researched and agreed between all parties. This will help you to begin your project on a high. Read this blog post for more advice on how to brief your builder.
- Have a written contract in place that covers start and finish dates, agreed rates and material costs, what will happen in the event of a delay and how the builder will manage post-work clean up (including who will pay for a skip if needed). FMB members have access to contracts through the Master Builders members area.
- Ensure that any changes to the original agreement are put in writing by the contractor.
- Pay by card in stages, avoid paying any upfront costs and look into payment protection.
- Let the contractor know about any issues you have with their work and give them a chance to resolve them.
The FMB is certified by the Chartered Trading Institute to provide Alternative Dispute Resolution Services (ADR) to FMB members and their clients, to assist in reaching a satisfactory outcome to building disputes.
The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) offers a free of charge Conciliation Scheme that is available to a consumer who is a private individual and has entered into a contract with an FMB member.
The FMB employs four ADR Officials, who have received appropriate training in mediation and consumer rights.
The intention of conciliation is to reach an agreed solution via telephone mediation, and by reference to relevant documents. In the majority of cases this is successful, but where it is not, both parties are free to take further action including formal legal proceedings. No legally binding decisions will be made on your behalf. Only you and the builder can decide what the final outcome of the process will be.
If your work was not completed by a Master Builder then you can seek assistance from the Citizens Advice, Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.
We recognise that on occasion disagreements can occur when building work is being undertaken and we may be able help through mediation. Understand more about the disputes process and how it might help you.