April 29, 2014

The right person for the right job

Summer is here and it’s time to get started on all those home improvement projects you’ve had planned over winter.

You may be thinking about extending your house, refurbishing your kitchen or bathroom or even having your garden landscaped.

But how do you select the right contractor for the job? You can save a lot of time money and worry by asking some basic question when selecting a contractor or sub-contractor associated with the project before work starts.

We don’t mean the type of contractor that knocks on the door to see if you need work doing that just does a cosmetic job ask for cash in hand and the job in a worst state then before they started and you have to pay more money to put it right.

Or the next door neighbours who have done his and will help you do yours.

Searching through the local paper or internet can be a start:

However, when you select a contractor some of the criteria for selection mentioned below should apply when having any work carried out.

  • Are they financially resourced to complete the project?
  • Are they qualified and competent to do the work?
  • Are they a member of a trade guild or confederation
  • Do they comply with Health and Safety  legislation

Competent qualified

There have been several prosecutions of contractors / companies who carry out work they are not either qualified or competent to do.

A plumber altering a bathroom does not seem to be a problem but when he undertakes moving the boiler that he is not qualified or competent to do can leave your project in a dangerous condition.

Refitting the gas fire should be a straight forward job but when done incorrectly may have led to carbon monoxide death.

A builder undertaking altering the electrical circuits so as to allow him to finish building a wall or wait to have an electrician turn up t has led to unsafe electrical work with the potential for persons to be electrocuted.

Joiners moving plug sockets or wiring lighting under cupboards so they can get on with fitting kitchen units led to unsafe electrical installation which could have caused  a fire do to overheating of the lamps.

Landscape gardener severely injured using unprotected disc cutter this could have so easily been a family member or member of the public child or family men injured because of

Do they have health and safety in place?

Do the contractor / sub contractors have in place health and safety arrangements that can be demonstrated i.e. other client’s recommendation

Ensuring competence – passport scheme?

The HSE publication INDG381 is a good practice guide for passport schemes:

“Passport schemes ensure the workers have basic health and safety awareness training.

They are welcomed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) and the Environment Agencies as they are a way of improving health and safety performance.

They also help reduce accidents and ill health caused by work. They are especially useful for workers and contractors who work in more than one industry or firm.”

The worker needs some way of evidencing, not only that they have taken basic training and passed a test as evidence of understanding, but also what elements of H&S training they have undertaken.

There is normally a photo ID card with effective passport scheme.

Are they registered with regulatory bodies?

  • Building Contractors
  • Contractors registered with CHAS Confederation of Construction Specialists
  • CHAS (Contractor Health & Safety Assessment Scheme)
  • Gas engineers
  • Gas Safe Register
  • Electrical technicians.
  • Electrical Contractors Association ECA
  • JIB Joint industrial board
  • NICEIC National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting
  • Plumbing
  • The Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC)

This is not a complete list of Regulatory authority’s guidance as to area which may help in assuring you that the contractor / sub contractor you hire are competent and qualified to carry out the work guide to

You should ask to see registration to a regulatory body to ensure that it is current and valid you can check with these authorities to see if there is any concerns regarding health and safety prosecutions or  concerns about there quality of works  that may be relevant to the project you are about to have done.

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