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I live in UK. Since I have decided to buy house, I would need a mortgage lender, conveyancing solicitors and property surveyor. However, this is not all in the long term. I also need to find reliable and competent builders for any decoration or repair work.

My friend had an experience with a builder, this builder did the job partially and then one day asked for a huge sum of money saying that he had to buy more materials. He took the money and never showed up again. My friend found this builder through some website where the builder had a lot of good reviews. This was obviously a huge problem for my friend.

  1. Are builders generally unreliable like this?

  2. If we can't find a reliable builder through our connections, what options do we have?

  3. What is the best way to find a reliable builder?

  4. Should we make deal with large organizations that take on contracts rather than a one man band to do all the work?

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Unfortunately, "shopping" questions are off-topic here. Please take our tour so you'll know how best to participate here. – Daniel Griscom Jun 21 '19 at 2:59
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Are builders generally unreliable like this?

Most are reliable. But like any other industry, there are some unscrupulous people who will take your money and run.

If we can't find a reliable builder through our connections, what options do we have?

Personal connections is my biggest recommendation. Ask your friends & neighbors. Send an email to a local community email list (i.e., don't just ask some random person on the internet). If you talk to enough local people you'll likely find the same good and bad recommendations repeated, and then pick (obviously) one of the "good" ones.

What is the best way to find a reliable builder?

See above.

Should we make deal with large organizations that take on contracts rather than a one man band to do all the work?

That can work out well. But you will be paying for overhead (advertising, office staff, equipment, etc.) that the little guys don't have. On the other hand, you will often (but not always) have a larger company that can fix up the tough problems if/when they occur. On the other hand, a large organization that doesn't care much about its customers can actually be worse when things go wrong, for a bunch of reasons. So it is a bit of a toss-up.

In the end, I find personal recommendations to be the most effective way to find good service - whether construction, doctors, lawyers or any other professional.

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    I agree with much of this although I think that the question is regional and needs to be answered from a regional perspective. I have built in France and the entire industry is NIGHT AND DAY different. I have a feeling that the UK is also in the realm of being much more regulated than the US. So I think a good answer would go over qualifications and sign-offs needed. – DMoore Jun 21 '19 at 3:26
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Apart from personal recommendations only use web sites where the traders have been properly vetted, not the ones where all his mates have logged in to say how good they were.
UK Trading Standards are safe, they are a government site that makes you jump through all the hoops before they list you.
Which? Trusted Traders is another site that properly vets their listings. You do have to be a Which? member to use them, but since you are buying a new house you will probably need new household goods.
I'm sceptical about the popular sites, I employed a builder through one of them and got ripped off just like your friend.
Oh yes, and try to get more than one quote. If it's a lot cheaper than all the rest, there's probably something wrong.

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  • Sceptical of people you meet in a pub as well.... Do the research and get references. – Solar Mike Jun 21 '19 at 11:55

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