Cowboy BuilderThe skills gap reported by in the same survey, showed one of the reasons for an increase in the use of UK tradespeople by concluding that Britons over estimate their DIY skill level dramatically when it comes to undertaking home improvement projects.

A survey by Halifax in April 2008 and repeated since, shows that 7 million British households are now living with some form of unfinished home renovation project and 1 million of these have been in this position for more than 10 years. Halifax have christened these people NERDS, standing for Never Ending Renovation Disaster.

The impact of this has been huge in terms of the number of people now turning to “cheap” builders to put matters right when homeowners realise that it is now becoming very hard to sell a house in anything less than perfect condition if a true value is to be realised.

This has placed a demand on the building industry to provide more labour and with fewer apprenticeships available and less money for training, together with a labour attitude of general unwillingness to spend money on insurance and instruction, much of this labour is less than qualified.

An abstract from a report by Martyn Dyson from the Business Journal, Mortgage Strategy on 24th October 2011, states that there are (mortgage) borrowers out there that want to upsize but do not feel it is possible. A possible solution is to improve and in some circumstances this can be more cost effective than moving.

The example he gives is the £40,000 difference in moving from a 3 to 4 bed property when to have an additional bedroom added as an extension to the property can amount to only £30,000 in many cases.

The homeowner, armed with these facts, sees (in a great many cases) only the savings and financial rewards. Mike Edwards of DIY Doctor Ltd says “Unfortunately, our research and our own surveys show that the home improver very often fails to undertake vital research in commissioning the right tradesperson and the complexities of the build itself.”

“Very often,” continues Mike, “the home improver will not have a definitive idea of what they actually want and will rely totally on the tradesman’s experience to support their basic ideas. Unfortunately because of all the reasons presented in this blog, it would seem that a huge number of tradesmen these days do not have either the experience or the interest to do this. The home improver is then left dissatisfied and most often out of pocket.”

You can find out more about avoiding cowboy builders by using our Home Improver Protection Solution.

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