Finding Qualified Contractors

 
Ready to start gathering quotes for work on your home but not sure where to turn? Here’s what to look out for and where to start your search:

Buy With Confidence

The first place we recommend you start looking for local tradesmen is the Buy With Confidence site. You can rest assured that businesses signed up to this scheme are vetted and approved by Trading Standards, meaning they are committed to trading fairly.

Gas Appliances and Systems

If you need to inspect or have work done on gas-fired boilers, cookers or any other gas appliance, the Gas Safe Register can help you find a registered gas engineer in your local area. Only those found on the register can legally work on your gas appliances.

If you smell gas (similar to a rotten egg smell) or your carbon monoxide detector goes off, evacuate the area and call the National Grid Gas Emergency line on 0800 111 999.

Insulation

To keep your home warmer in the winter (and to cut down on your energy bills), you’ve decided to invest in insulation. Depending on what type of insulation you’re planning to install (e.g., loft, cavity wall) and how handy you are, it could be a DIY job. More complicated installations, however, are best left to the professionals.

The National Insulation Association represents the UK insulation industry. You can find an NIA installer in your local area by simply typing in your postcode. When works are completed by these installers, you will be provided with a 25 year guarantee on Cavity Wall Insulation from CIGA or you can request a guarantee for Solid Wall properties from SWIGA.

Oil, solid fuel and renewables

OFTEC set standards for heating off the mains gas network. They also operate a Competent Person Scheme, where you can find technicians to install or service your oil, solid fuel and renewable heating equipment. Although not a requirement, using a ‘competent person’ has the benefit of being able to self-certify the work, thereby sidestepping a building inspection and associated fees.

Good to Know

Buying heating oil can be expensive, but there are a few things you can do make your money go further. Suppliers often offer better deals outside of the winter months when they’re less busy. If you can, fill up your tank before the cold sets in. You may also want to join or set up an oil club that will let you buy heating oil for cheaper bulk buying prices and may even save you money on delivery costs. You can find more information about Best Practice for Oil Buying Groups here. Have a look online to find an oil club near you.

Biomass and solid fuels

Whether you have a wood burning stove or other solid fuel heating, HETAS can help you find the right product, fuel or installer.  Like OFTEC, HETAS offers a Competent Person Scheme that allow members to self-certify Building Regulations compliance. You can find a range of services provided by companies registered with the scheme, including installers, servicing businesses and chimney sweeps. For more solid fuel advice, contact the Solid Fuel Association helpline on 0845 601 4406

Good to Know

If you live in a smoke control area (parts of Southampton City Council and Portsmouth City Council), make sure to use an approved fuel. The list can be found on the Defra website.

Glazing

Do your windows or doors need replacing? Find a competent double glazing installer through FENSA’s Competent Person Scheme. You’ll be provided with a FENSA certificate after the work is completed as a record of your installation.

Electricians

Almost half of all serious electric shocks in UK homes are the result of DIY attempts. If you need electrical work done, it’s best to get a registered electrician to do the job. NICEIC can help you find reputable contractors. Not only will this ensure the work is done safely but it may also save you time and money if the work is covered by the Building Regulations since members are able to self-certify.

Plumbers

WaterSafe consolidates numerous schemes from across the UK that help identify qualified plumbers in your local area. The scheme gives peace of mind that the contractor you hire is competent and will keep water supplies safe. All recognised plumbers in England and Wales carry an ID card with the WaterSafe logo.

Surveyors

Whether you’re looking to buy, extend or remodel your home, you’ll want to seek advice from a chartered surveyor. Professionals registered with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) should give you peace of mind that the work will be carried out to a high standard. RICS members will have the letters MRICS or FRICs after their names.

Green Deal and ECO participants

If you’re planning energy efficiency improvements to your home through the Green Deal, you’ll need to find authorised participants. The Green Deal Oversight and Registration Body (ORB) has a register of providers, installers, assessors and suppliers that can help you through the process. Both Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO) installers must be PAS 2030 certified to access those schemes.

Feed-In Tariffs

Get paid for generating renewable electricity! Solar panels, wind turbines and micro combined-heat-and-power (CHP) technologies are eligible for the government’s Feed-In Tariff (FIT). The catch? Both the product and the installer must be MCS certified. Once installed, you’ll receive an MCS Certificate that you can pass on to your electricity company to register for FITs. You’ll also need to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) when you make the application. More information can be found here.

EPC Assessors

All homes built, rented or sold require an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which is valid for 10 years. You can find an accredited assessor on the EPC register. The assessor gathers information about a home’s energy use and typical energy costs and uses software to rate its energy efficiency from A to G. The average UK home is D-rated. The report also recommends energy efficiency improvements that could provide potential savings.