As many as 40,000 householders sought help from Citizens Advice last year on home improvement jobs, mostly for shoddy workmanship. Roofing and fitted kitchens were the worst offenders, attracting nearly 5,000 complaints each.In one case, a builder failed to finish work on the roof, leading to thousands of pounds’ worth of water damage.In another typical example, a kitchen contractor disappeared, leaving no doors on the cupboards.The top five building jobs which caused problems were:Roofing – 4,971 cases
Fitted kitchens – 4,766 cases
Fitted windows and doors – 3,879 cases
Plumbers – 3,210 cases
Driveways, patios and decking – 3,116 cases
“People trying to improve their homes are finding them in a worse state than before they started,” said Gillian Guy, the chief executive of Citizens Advice.”Dealing with botched jobs and unfinished work means many are left out of pocket and face huge disruptions to their lives.” The charity is advising householders to get references before hiring a builder, to find out if they are a member of a trade body, and to get written quotations and contracts.If things do go wrong, and the builders are not co-operative, consumers should consider using an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme, said Citizens Advice.