Better buildings rest on professional advice

From: Dr David Hill, Senior Chartered Surveyor, Milnsbridge, Huddersfield.

In respect of Sally Coulthard’s “Home Truths” article, “No need to have reservations – not all builders are cowboys” (Yorkshire Post, October 8), I have to take issue.

It appears that she really hasn’t witnessed the problem within our industry in great detail.

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Over the past 20 years I have acted as an expert witness to the courts on all manner of construction actions.

Ms Coulthard recommends that recommendations from family members or friends is the best solution.

I can respectfully tell her that this is not the way, and from relatively recent experience two of my clients who had to go to court had recommended builders by their family and best friends.

One had over £150,000 awarded against the builder, and the other was told to demolish the building the builder had constructed. The second builder had undertaken for a family relative a small kitchen refurbishment, and the scale of the two projects was the difference between David and Goliath.

Unfortunately this client did not get any compensation, because the builder recommended by the family member went into bankruptcy. She was left with nothing, having wasted over £87,000 of her life’s savings.

Builders should be chosen to get the best probability of securing a “competent” and experienced builder.

That can only come from at least 20 years of professional advisory work and experience from a competent chartered professional who through trial and error has determined which builders can perform and those that leave a nightmare for customers.

It is a long learning curve. Only qualified professionals can select the right builder for a certain job.