Home is where the heart is, which means it’s important to keep them fully functioning and comfortable. In fact, new research has found that more Brits than ever are making improvements to their current house rather than buying a new one – this is likely due to the high cost of stamp duty, high property prices and the added stress of moving. Research by Hiscox found that 15% of homeowners are choosing to carry out home improvements, compared to just 3% back in 2013.

It’s little wonder people are investing in their homes though: as well as making homeowners feel happier and more comfortable, these projects also have the potential to add significant value to a property. Getting the kitchen fitters in to extend the room with a side-return extension is estimated to add up to 15% potential value, according to Property Price Advice. Forking out the expensive loft conversion cost to add a new bedroom can also add 15%, while a new bathroom installation can see a healthy increase of between 3-5%.

However, with UK homeowners spending an estimated £23,000 on renovating their homes, these projects don’t exactly come cheap. It is therefore extremely important to ensure you are hiring the most reliable and experienced tradespeople to carry out the work.

Considerations when hiring a tradesperson for home improvement projects

Whether you’re looking for an expert to carry out extensive structural work or just need to find carpet fitters you can trust, you should always take careful steps before hiring an independent tradesman or company.

It’s always a good idea to get recommendations and references from previous customers. Don’t be afraid to ask to see the tradesperson’s portfolio or request to be put in contact with past clients who have had similar work completed. This way, you can gain a good insight into the quality of their work, as well as their professionalism and how quickly they are able to complete projects. If the tradesperson seems resistant or refuses to disclose past clients, then this is a red flag.

Along with testimonials, qualifications and membership of accreditation schemes or trade associations are some of the best indications of a tradesperson’s competence. Associations and schemes such as the Guild of Master Craftsmen, National Federation of Builders and Federation of Master Builders (FMB) can often give you a seal of approval that the tradesperson follows the correct code of conduct, is fully insured and qualified. However, membership is voluntary, and a tradesperson is therefore not required by law to sign up to them. They are, however, legally required to be registered with the Gas Safe Register if they are carrying out any gas work or a Registered Competent Person if you have hired them to complete any electrical work.

Once you are satisfied that the tradesperson is fully qualified and correctly registered, then you should make sure you take the time to discuss your project in detail with them. Ask them any questions you may have and be sure to check that they have insurance in place. This will ensure you are covered should any issues arise with the work, or any accidental damage occur while they are on your property. Check if they have public liability insurance to cover any potential injuries or employer’s liability insurance if you have hired them through a company.

Will you need planning permission?

For smaller projects such as floor and carpet fitting, you shouldn’t need to worry about permissions or approvals. However, for larger renovation projects, such as loft conversions, it’s vital that all the required checks and applications have been made.

Building regulations approval may be required if a property is being constructed or extended, or if certain additions are being made, such as: a new bathroom installation, heating systems, windows/doors or roof coverings on pitched and flat roofs. For the building of new structures, such as outhouses, or significant changes to a property, such as extensions, planning permission may be required.

Make sure you speak to the tradesperson about these requirements before any work starts. If you hire a tradesperson who is registered with a government approved ‘competent person scheme’, then you will not be required to make applications for building regulations approval yourself. Otherwise, you will be required to contact the Building Control Body to submit a full plans application or building notice, as well as paying a fee for an inspection.

How Hoppy can help

At Hoppy, we make it so quick and easy to find experienced, friendly and reliable local tradesmen. We work in partnership with Plentific to bring you the top recommendations for a range of tradesperson services in your area. By booking through the Hoppy site, you can rest assured that you’re hiring a Verified Plentific Pro, who has completed a rigorous testing process to ensure they meet our exceptionally high standards.

You’ll be able to view all hourly rates, instantly book an appointment online and, with the Plentific Guarantee, make secure online payments, with all money held until the work is completed. For added peace of mind, the Plentific Guarantee also includes a quality assurance. This means that, should your Verified Plentific Pro be unable to finish the project for whatever reason, we will arrange for another pro to complete the work for you.

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