How the Guild’s conciliation service can help you to receive payment

The Guild’s Conciliation Service can assist in receiving the correct payment for work carried out but there are steps you can take to prevent disputes occurring. Read on for a guide to establishing clear communication with your clients and avoiding disputes further down the line.

How to establish clear communication with your client from the outset

One of the main causes of a dispute is a lack of clear communication between both parties: estimates, quotations and client instructions should be confirmed in writing.

Having received a request for an estimate from your prospective client, arrange a site visit to confirm their requirements, for example:

  • Do new materials need to match existing ones?
  • What is your access to the work like? Are the works at ground level with easy vehicle access? Will you need to park streets away and carry materials to the job?
  • Are there any services (electricity, gas, drainage or water mains) that may be in the way?
  • Is your client to supply any materials? If so, let your client know when you will require them and explain that if they are not available this may well cause delays.
  • Keep accurate notes of this visit and confirm any client confirmation or instructions in writing in order to allow for any cost implications. 

What considerations should you make your client aware of?

Consider if any local authority approvals are required and advise your client of the following:

  • Planning permission, not forgetting that some work can be classified ‘Permitted development’.
  • Building Regulation approvals.
  • Ask your client to confirm with the local authorities if one or both of the above are required for their proposed works.

Other considerations for your client:

  • Is a Party Wall award required?
  • Is Notification to HSE required (See The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015)? If so, make sure that Form F10 is completed and sent to your local HSE.

How to agree an estimate with your client and get it in writing

Having considered all the above, set out your estimate/quotation clearly in writing and list the following:

  • Precise work to be carried out, making reference to any sketches or drawings from your client.
  • Your contract sum, plus VAT if you are VAT registered.
  • Start and completion dates (weather dependent).
  • Agreed date for any client-supplied items.
  • Any works that are not included.
  • Procedure for any variations to the work.
  • Payment clause.

If you are awarded the work, consider using the Guild’s Form of Contract before commencing.

  • Complete the contract in writing, sign and date and ask your client to do the same.
  • Having started the works, it is important at all times to confirm any additional client’s instructions in writing in case of cost implications.
  • Discuss and agree any issues that may arise and agree the outcome in writing.

If you follow all of the above, then many disputes will be avoided.

Failing that, the Guild’s Conciliation Services will be there to help.

The Guild Conciliation Service has a leaflet to help reassure your clients. Use this to help convert enquiries.