Although we have tried to supply as much information as we can to help you with your building project, we cannot include everything. Hence you will have to carry out your own supplemental research.

The following list of sites and contacts will help you to do this.

The Government are currently implementing a scheme that they believe will eliminate the Cowboy Builder. This scheme is known as the Quality Mark scheme. The Quality Mark scheme will hopefully eradicate the cowboy builder by forcing all builders to register and making sure that they pass specific criteria before being issued with the mark. It can be taken as read that any builder carrying the Quality Mark, is a reputable builder and any work will be warranted.

Ultimately, the Quality Mark scheme will mean that the general public can select builders with more confidence and know that the work will be carried out to a satisfactory level. The Government believe that the scheme will be fully implemented in approximately 3-5 years. Although we appreciate and endorse the Governments efforts, the registration of all builders is some way away and the country needs a solution NOW !

Getting quotes from reputable builders is one thing, but knowing which one is best is entirely different. One quote can still differ drastically from another if different materials and techniques are being used to complete the work.

The planning officers at your Local Authority will be able to provide you with building advice. You can find their contact details on the Open Government website. Planning – A Guide for Householders has more information on this.

A leaflet, ‘What Listing Means’, can be obtained by telephoning the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, on 0207 211 6913. More detailed guidance, also relevant to conservation areas, can be found in Planning Policy Guidance Note 15, on the DTLR website.

The National Association of Citizens’ Advice Bureaux (NACAB) website has advice on home repairs and insulation, including information on house renovation grants for England and Wales and information on home improvement schemes for Scotland. This site also supplies basic advice and information on your rights.

The Safety at Home section of the Consumer Gateway includes information on DIY and advice on keeping safe and avoiding accidents in the home. The DTI’s Safety Unit has produced a number of safety leaflets. They include advice on using stepladders and general guidance on carrying out DIY tasks safely.

If your builder belongs to a trade association you might be able to get help from the association to settle any dispute between you. The Trade Association Forum website has a Directory where you can find contact details for most associations.

Limesearch also has a Home Improvement sections with links to government sites and 'Which' that may also help you.

We are fairly confident that the above links will provide you with the information you need. If you cannot find the answers you require, please try the numerous internet search engines that are available.

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