Practical Guidelines for Buyers
- A decision to retrofit your home and upgrade your insulation or heating system may involve significant investment. It is important that you are fully informed and proceed carefully to ensure that you get the solution / service which truly meets your requirements and expectations. Whether you have only just begun to consider your retrofit project, or even if you are nearly settled on your preferred solution, these basic guidelines represent good practice in the selection of that solution. Ultimately the decision rests with you the customer.
- The installation of certain products may constitute ‘works’ or ‘development’ within the meaning of planning Acts and/or building regulations. You should ensure that you have relevant approvals in place before works commence. Your contractor is required to comply with technical regulations under the Building Regulations Technical Guidance issued by the Department of Environment.
Getting the Best Solution
- Shop around. Before settling on any one solution, or contractor, get at least two quotes for the upgrades being considered, more if desired, and compare the offerings. If you have decided on a particular solution (say wall insulation material or a boiler), but remain uncertain about the contractor, then contact the manufacturer / supplier directly and ask them if they can recommend a contractor to you.
- While comparing the quotes which you have received, and before you make any final decision, request the prospective contractors to provide reference homes where they have completed similar works. Make sure you contact the references supplied (again try for two or more):
- ask if the job came in on time and on price
- confirm that they are fully satisfied with the works and the standard of workmanship
- see if there were any issues during or since works and whether they were resolved to the clients satisfaction
- ask about the scope and quality of their after sales service.
- It will always be worth visiting one of these homes to see the product in operation and to satisfy yourself of the workmanship first hand.
Formalise the Relationship
- As stated, the contract for the works will be between you the customer and your chosen contractor. This is best done through the use of a written contract which records the following aspects of the agreement:
- obligations of the contractor in the works
- your duties in terms of facilitating the installation
- payment terms and milestones
- obligation contractor to effect and maintain appropriate insurances in place
- agreed terms for dispute resolution should problems arise before, during or after the installation has been completed
- In short, the decision is with you, the customer. The contract is between you and the contractor. The warranty and aftercare responsibility of the product and installation rests with the contractor.
- Note under the Better Energy Homes scheme it is mandatory for all contractors to have a contract in place for all jobs completed and a model contract(template) is available on the website.