Back in 2012 John and Michelle Fennelly from Co. Carlow had a leaking flat roof. In an effort to remedy the problems, the Fennellys contacted a company called Fusion Insulation. The roof was in poor condition and wasn’t suitable for a full insulation and waterproofing treatment so John and Michelle paid €3500 to have a special polyurea waterproof coating applied to stop the leaks.
Unfortunately when it rained the waterproofing hadn’t worked and after months of trying to resolve the problem, including an offer of a refund along with further efforts at repair work by Fusion Insulation, John and Michellle contacted The Consumer Show asking for help.
Architect Dermot Bannon joined Keelin on The Consumer Show couch to discuss how to avoid problems when dealing with tradesmen. Dermot recommended:
- Ask an architect, an engineer or a surveyor to look at the problem and draw up a specification of the works required. This may cost a couple of hundred euros, but a consumer can send that spec out to any number of building contractors and be confident they are all going to be pricing like-for-like.
- Don’t just take the price of the contractor into consideration – get recommendations from professionals - engineers, surveyors or architects - who have worked with the contractor before.
- Make sure you put a contract in place with your builder. The Royal Institute of Architects (www.riai.ie) have basic contracts consumers can use as a starting point to draw up an agreement with their builder, including when to pay the builder, how to pay them etc.
- Remember that contractors do not need to be paid in advance. Don’t pay for any work up-front, only pay for what has been done.