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Choosing a carpenter checklist


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Make a list of all the work you need doing in your home – whether it’s bespoke furniture you require, some shelves or a full loft conversion.
Think about and decide on the appearance of the finished product - for instance, if you are planning a kitchen, decide on the type of worktop, cupboard fronts etc.
Decide on a budget for the work.
  Collect visual examples of what you are requesting to give the carpenter an idea of your requirements and to benchmark the quality.
  Check with your local Planning Authority whether building regulations and/or planning approval is required for major work such as conversions or extensions and for repairs on listed buildings.
  Contact and secure quotes from three different carpenters, making sure at least one is a member of the Institute of Carpenters.
  If you need to find a professional/ joiner to quote for quality woodwork, visit the Institute of Carpenters’ Find a professional search facility.
Carpenters can either be employed directly or through a building contractor employed by you. If your builder is quoting for carpentry work, check the carpenter is a member of the Institute of Carpenters.
Request the quote in writing and ask for a breakdown of labour and costs.
Understand what the payment terms are and be wary of anyone asking you to pay all the money upfront. In any case any up front deposit should only cover materials needed to start the works.
Check if the work comes with any product guarantees and how many months' guarantee is given for workmanship.
Make sure they are covered by their own insurance should anything go wrong with the project, including public liability insurance.
Ask to see previous work at recent client's homes, especially for large works such as conversions or bespoke kitchens.
Confirm acceptance of the quote in writing as well as any agreements made during discussions on the actions above so you have a clear written scope of works.
Obtain a price for any changes and confirm instructions to make changes in writing.
If work is of significant value or involves structural alterations to your home consider entering into a formal contract. Contact the IOC for assistance and advice.
Understand what your carpenter needs you to do prior to the work, e.g. clear bookshelves, the loft or take up existing flooring. Don’t forget, if you have any new carpets fitted, you will need the doors re-sizing so they shut properly.
Agree who will clear up after the work has been completed and if you have any special requirements e.g. a member of the family is asthmatic, make sure dust is kept to a minimum.
If you have any queries about the work, say so as soon as you realise there is a problem – don’t let it fester. Always try to rectify the issue fairly between you, but contact us if you have a dispute you cannot solve between you.


All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner OBE, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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