Cowboy Builders on TV

This is a UK TV series on air since 2009 which involves exposing bad, reckless and disreputable builders. The presenters confront the builders and go about helping those who have been affected by them; often by completing the original works.

As a builder I am curious about the program and from my experience I see a pattern most reputable builders will recognise. I have also been asked a few times to recover a project after the original builder had disappeared or folded their company, taking the majority of the money with only a small fraction of the work completed.

Many of the quotes offered by “cowboy” builders are unrealistically cheap. I know there are regional differences in prices, but sometimes I get the impression the client simply selected the cheapest quote.

During hard times, people will do or say anything to make a few quid. This is also true of hard up unemployed builders. A top builder might want to charge top money for his work. This leaves a lot of room below for an up-and-coming new builder to undercut on price. But a desperate, unemployed “builder” might be forced to quote even less to guarantee getting the contract making the price very attractive to the client.

However, all building works include a lot of materials including sand, cement, plasterboards, timber, screws, tools and waste disposal (skips). In London a small extension can cost well over £2000 in waste disposal alone without the licence fees.

The quote for building works can only be reduced so far until, the builder would simply be unable to complete the works requested. When this happens, a reputable builder has no option but to walk away. If the builder operates as a limited company, legally he has no choice but to fold the firm. Either way the home owner loses.

In conclusion, if a quote seems too good to be true, it might well be the case. If you need building works done, follow my step for finding a builder. (See link).

PS Beware of cowboy builders who also charge top dollar. They can sell ice to Eskimos.

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