News & Blog

Tim's February Blog

The Property Redress Scheme (PRS) is always looking for opportunities to make life better or simpler for our Members. Using a careful vetting process we like to give exposure to organisations that we think you might find useful. This could involve saving you money or helping you maintain a competitive edge.

 

For this purpose we would like to introduce the Home Improvements Guarantee Scheme (HIG) http://www.homeimprovementsguarantee.co.uk/

 

The HIG is approved by Trading Standards for people having repairs or renovations on their property and ensures they do not have to part with any money until they are perfectly happy with the finished work and all contractual details have been met. Crucially, it also guarantees the work and includes a dispute resolution service as part of the contract.

 

Agents are often asked for recommendations for builders by clients and I am happy to say that HIG may be worthy solution, strengthening the bond between you and your clients and adding value to your service.
 

It works by charging the vetted contractor a small membership fee when joining the scheme and commission on each job, typically between 3%-5% with an average of around 4%. If an agent introduces an HIG contractor to a client, they will receive 25% of the profit received on any project. 

 

So if somebody wanted a loft conversion costing £40,000, the agent would typically receive around £400 on completion of the works.

More importantly, it provides valuable protection for your customers.

 

HIG is the brainchild of Harvey Ellingham, an electronics engineer, builder and businessman who had the idea after his elderly parents were ripped off by cowboy builders for £23,000. It involves HIG sourcing and vetting builders from all over the country, largely through the Trading Standards approved Buy with Confidence website, then arranging quotes from three traders to maintain competitive forces during the quote process. Agents and clients can recommend their own builders but they will be required to pass vetting before being able to use the guarantee.


All builders must agree beforehand to sign up to the terms of the guarantee before quoting for the work required.

 

The scheme works like this:
- The project is split up into various stages, the works to be completed in each stage are detailed is detailed and a timescale is agreed for completion of each stage, and the whole job. The money for the first stage of work is placed into an FCA regulated holding account, and is released to the builder only when the consumer is 100% happy with the work and agrees to release the funds.
- Then the builder can continue with the next stage of the project.
- By placing the money in an independent account the consumer knows that their money is completely safe.
- Once all the stages have been completed, and the consumer is 100% happy with the work that has been done, the final payment is released.

 

If any extra works crop up along the way, these are detailed on a separate work sheet, costed, approved and signed for by the client. These extras are paid for as they are completed or at the latest at the end of that stage of the project – to eliminate ‘contract creep’.

 

The scheme also includes an insurance backed guarantee which provides additional security over and above the tradesman’s own guarantee 

 

All HIG accredited builders have to give a guarantee on their work but HIG provide extra cover to ensure that the consumer is protected whatever happens to the trader – if they close the business or move abroad, for example, and it ensures that if problems emerge with the quality of the work in that guarantee period we will provide another builder to assess and rectify any issues.

 

The Insurance Backed Guarantee is valid for up to 10 years and also covers deposit payments up to 25% of contract value. Deposit payments in the region of 10 – 15% are sometimes requested by contractors to cover materials and set up costs or to show financial commitment.

 

In the unlikely event the builder disappears with the money, or is unable to start the project, those monies paid are covered by our guarantee as well. 

 

There is a video on the HIG website which helps explain the concept. View at www.homeimprovementsguarantee.co.uk

 

If you are interested in discussing the work with HIG are doing with Harvey he can be contacted at 01375 489 744 or mobile 07970 166 281 and email admin@higuk.co.uk

 

Having met Harvey I believe this is a fantastic scheme designed to build consumer confidence in the building industry. Both the consumer and the builder are protected by the scheme and the Agent can also benefit with a share of the commission. 

 

Until next time!

Thanks
Tim Frome
Managing Director
Property Redress Scheme

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Property Redress Scheme is approved by Government under the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015