Using Contractors

CPRA does not keep a register of ‘approved tradesmen’.

But if you are having building or garden work, we suggest the following guidelines.  These could apply to any size job from a window replacement to a full extension, or from hedge trimming to a new driveway.


  • Always choose a reputable local company from a neighbour recommendation, the phone book or the web.
  • Ensure the company is a member of their industry body, and their employees and subcontractors are qualified to the latest standards.  This is especially important for electrical work, or work that has to meet Planning Regulations.
  • Ensure that the company has Public Liability Insurance.
  • Ask the company to put their advertising board (A-BOARD) up while working at your house, and ask if their vehicles have the company name on the side. This will attract other customers for them, so they should want to do this anyway
  • Check that they will use all necessary proper equipment for their own Health and Safety.
  • Get written quotations before you start.
  • Agree a start and completion date.
  • State clearly that you do not want any parking on grass verges, no mess should be left on pavements or in the road, and the site should be secure each night.
  • Agree when any part payments will be made.
  • Make it clear that you will want a proper VAT invoice and will only pay by cheque or credit card.
  • Do not promise to pay ‘Cash in Hand’.


  • Tell your neighbours what is being done, and establish if the work is being done Monday/Friday or at weekends, especially if it is noisy.
  • Ensure that subcontractors or deliveries do not block the street, or park on the pavements or the grass verges..
  • Ask for a new written quotation, if extra work is agreed once the job begins.


  • Ask for some business cards to give to friends and neighbours who admire the work.
  • But if you are not happy with the work, contact Trading Standards, who keep a register of companies that do disputed work, (and those that overcharge older people).


You should always have proper invoices and pay VAT.  Otherwise you may have future problems:

  • Employees may not be paid the minimum wage, and the company or subcontractors may not be paying proper Income Tax or National Insurance.
  • Your own insurance policy may not cover you as the work you have had done does not exist officially
  • You may not be insured if anyone is injured while on your property.
  • If phone, gas, water or electricity installations are damaged (for example by deliveries, pollution or fallen trees), the utility companies may charge you for the repairs.
  • Similarly, you may not have insurance if you are sued by a neighbour or the council.  It is possible that other problems may emerge some time after, such as blocked drains or pollution.
  • You may not be able to involve Trading Standards, and if something goes wrong later, the company could even deny they ever did the work!
  • Proper invoices will help if you come to sell your home in the future, as they will show the work was done reliably by a sound company.
  • Keep all paperwork, including guarantees.

Good Luck