Category Archives: Industry News
MOST tradies are honest, host Chris Hollins tells us, but a few “turn rogue”, as if they’re elite secret agents who stop following protocol.
That cloak-and-dagger theme is carried throughout the episode as Hollins ropes in Roger, an honest tradesman who agrees to carry out some of the more common tradesmen cons on people volunteered by their friends, to see if they fall for them. The presentation is absurd, but then every time I have my car serviced and the mechanic phones me to inform me of all the problems he’s found, there’s a gnawing sense of powerlessness because I have no idea whether what he says is reasonable or not. Beyond the silly hidden camera antics dragged out on shows such as this, there is some useful advice on hiring a tradesman and minimising the chances you’ll be ripped off. While some of it is obvious — get a quote before the start of the job, then get two more from other tradies — I must admit I’m guilty of not always taking these precautions. With this and other shows such as Cowboy Trap coming out of Britain, you have to wonder if they have more shonky tradies or they just like making shows about them. You’d have to pity the honest tradies who must be met with a constant sense of suspicion as a result.
These are our golden rules to help you find a tradesman that you can rely on and to help you get the job done.
If you follow these tips when choosing a tradesman you will maximise your chances of getting a quality job carried out.
1. Understand the job you want doing and have a clear brief on the work you require doing. Being clear in your requirements removes any misunderstandings. Understanding your job and having a clear brief saves lots of waisted time, including your own.
2. Obtain an appropriate number of written and detailed quotes. Generally 3 quotes is considered an acceptable number to get a broad range of prices. Check to see if the quote is prepared professionally and has all the tradesman’s contact details and so on.
3. Use our website to research the background and feedback from other customers on the tradesmen. This will allow you to see exactly how they have worked with other customers which is a very good indicator to how your job will be carried out.
4. Carry out additional due diligence on the tradesman. Are they members of any governing bodies, do they carry any client testimonials, do they have landline/email/website points of contact, do they have public liability insurance and so on. Check with your local trading standards to see if any complaints have been registered. All these items can be checked quite easily nowadays.
5. Select your tradesman based on all factors and not just price. As we tell all customers the price is only one factor and whilst important it should not be the sole deciding reason for selecting a tradesperson. Remember to let any unsuccessful people who have quoted know they have been unsuccessful also.
6. Always try and use a written contract which ensures their is no ambuiguity between tradesman and customer. This should include everything from timescales, payment terms and so on. If neccessary get the contract checked by an independant legal advisor before entering in to it. Understand your cancellation rights as a consumer also.
7. If their are any changes or extras to the work during the course of the job ensure they are put in writing and the time/payment costs incurred due to these changes are agreed by both parties.
If you are instructing a contractor to carry out work and they are not able to provide details of things you ask such as insurance documents or contracts then you should ask yourself the question why. Keeping open and easy communication always helps too when undertaking a project, if you spot something you are unhappy with you should mention it as soon as you notice it.
If you follow these useful tips when choosing a tradesman then this will minimise your chances of encountering poor workmanship.
If in doubt do not hesitate to contact us for free impartial advice.
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Guest Blog from Asbestos.com providing helpful advice on the dangers and health risks of exposure to Asbestos.
Which Construction Jobs have the Highest Risk for Asbestos Exposure?
The construction industry has been one of the largest sources of asbestos exposure. Before regulations in the late 1970s limited the use of asbestos in construction material, more than 3,000 asbestos-containing products were made with asbestos.
Products like cement, paint, insulation, drywall and roofing materials all contained asbestos. Workers, who mixed, installed or removed these products likely experienced exposure if they failed to wear protective gear. At the time, most workers were completely unaware that asbestos could cause serious diseases later in life.
As a result, many former construction workers have developed mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. These conditions are typically fatal and treatment options usually only relieve symptoms for a short period of time. The best way to fight an asbestos-related disease is to detect it early. With symptoms taking as much as 50 years to arise, former construction workers who handled asbestos should receive annual screenings to check for an asbestos-related disease.
Jobs at Risk
Although every job in the construction industry could have placed workers at risk for inhaling asbestos, certain tasks carried higher than average risks for exposure. Construction jobs that have historically been associated with high exposure rates include:
Roofers and Siding Installers – Roofing materials have been a big source for asbestos exposure because shingles and roofing felt were made with asbestos. The installation of a roof with asbestos products or the removal of one that was built with asbestos materials certainly could result in airborne asbestos fibers.
Siding installers also faced asbestos risk factors on a regular basis. During the housing boom in the 1960s and ‘70s, asbestos siding was a very popular material. Today’s construction workers should be careful when replacing old siding on a house.
Demolition Worker – Demolition work is one of the most at-risk jobs for asbestos exposure. Asbestos fibers become airborne after being disturbed and demolition work is certain to damage asbestos products if they’re present.
Insulation Installer – Asbestos insulation has possibly been responsible for more exposure occurrences than any other asbestos product. The material was used in attics, basements, walls, electrical boxes and anywhere else that required insulation. Asbestos naturally possesses insulating and fireproofing capabilities, so incorporating it into insulation materials made perfect sense.
Drywall Installer – Before the 1980s, drywall was often made with asbestos. The installation or removal of drywall has always been an occupation with higher than average exposure risks. If asbestos-containing drywall needed to be cut to fit into a specific space, asbestos fibers were likely released into the air.
Abatement Worker – Anyone who performs asbestos abatement is certainly at risk for exposure. Abatement workers are called in to physically remove asbestos-containing materials. If done improperly, exposure can easily occur.
Although most workers fully understand the risks involved and take all precautions to avoid inhaling asbestos, accidents can happen. Some companies hire employees unfamiliar with asbestos abatement practices and do not protect them with equipment. However, it is illegal to let uninformed workers perform asbestos abatement and all safety precautions must be taken. Today, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency strictly enforce safe asbestos procedures.
There are a number of additional construction jobs that place workers at risk on a daily basis, but the jobs mentioned above presented some of the highest risks. Those who performed these jobs for more than a few years naturally have a higher chance of developing an asbestos-related cancer. However, it should be noted that there is no safe level of exposure. If asbestos-containing materials are suspected, it’s best to assume asbestos is present and to take all safety precautions.
Bio: Jensen Whitmer has been writing for the Mesothelioma Center for more than three years and he has an interest in spreading awareness about the hazardous effects of asbestos exposure.
Savvy social media users are taking to Twitter and Facebook and shunning long call centre waiting times to get ‘VIP’ treatment in sorting out their problems.
Big brands such as BT, Aviva, Virgin Media and ASOS all have Twitter accounts dedicated to sorting out customer complaints.
And cunning customers know that by tweeting complaining about a company, or even ranting on its Facebook page they will secure an almost immediate response from firm’s desperate to nip bad publicity in the bud.
Social media power: Consumers are turning to more powerful forms of complaint by airing their views on Twitter and Facebook.
Companies are concerned about damaging their ‘digital reputation’ and are keen to sort customers problems quickly.
And more and more of us are getting the message that naming and shaming is a quick route to success. Some 65 per cent of consumers now believe that social media is a better way to communicate with companies than through call centres, according to the study by public relations agency Fishburn Hedges and Echo Research.
Its survey of 2,000 people found that more than a third of consumers have already interacted with companies through social media.
And 40 per cent of those surveyed believed that social media has improved customer service.
Eva Keogan, head of innovation at Fishburn Hedges, said: ‘Many people are currently enjoying the VIP treatment from brands on social media. As millions more catch on to this great route into traditional customer service channels, the challenge for brands will be maintaining the same level of service.’
Online customers are also often privy to exclusive offers – while sometimes a tactic to get some to spend more – there are often real discounts and opportunities to save money.
This is Money explored customers fighting back online in November 2009 when we highlighted how some consumers had been uploading videos to YouTube or writing blogs voicing their annoyance at the service from a particular brands.
Of course, we have also been no stranger to our readers using This is Money to fight back and know that not only do companies respond swiftly when we take on someone’s case, but also regularly monitor our reader comments and forums to spot people’s problems.