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How to avoid hiring a cowboy tradesman

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Research has revealed that tradespeople in the UK spend on average two hours and 21 minutes every day repairing jobs homeowners have messed up.

The Swinton Insurance report found that Brits have a particular problem with electrical work, with tradespeople revealing the number one botched job they spend time fixing is changing a fuse, closely followed by wiring and changing plugs.

Calling out professionals to repair DIY blunders costs the average UK household £150 a year.

The best way to avoid a costly repair bill is to bring in a professional in the first place, but how do you know you are not calling a cowboy?

Choosing a worker who is a member of a professional organisation with code of practice and official complaints process is a good start, as you get extra protection if something does go wrong.

TrustMark is a great first port of call. The government-endorsed scheme for all trades working in and around the home brings together 30 trade associations, from air conditioning engineers to window installers, so you can search tradesmen local to you.

Here are more trustworthy sources courtesy of Swinton Insurance for some of the most in-demand trades:

  1. Electricians

The Registered Competent Person Electrical register is a list of certified electricians, who are regularly checked to make sure their work is up to standard. You can search for an approved electrician in your area on the website.

  1. Plumbers and heating engineers

There are two main trade organisations for plumbers: the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors, and the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering. Both groups ensure members maintain high standards of workmanship and customer service, and follow a code of conduct. They also each have an online database of qualified plumbers in your area.

  1. Decorators

All members of the Painting & Decorating Association are either qualified or have a minimum of five years’ experience. They must also be fully insured. Visit the website to search local members.

  1. Carpenters

The Institute of Carpenters has an online directory of its members in your area. All its members are qualified, or have to prove their knowledge in a rigorous interview and present good references.

  1. Builders

Federation of Master Builders members have to have their work inspected before they join and must sign up to a dispute resolution process, so customers have comeback if anything goes wrong. You can post details of your building project on the FMB website and local members can quote for the job.

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