You wouldn’t let your Doctor or Dentist treat you if they weren’t qualified would you? You should expect the same from a builder, gas engineer or electrician

before they start any work on your home. If you’ve just moved to a new area ask neighbours for local recommendations and get at least three quotes to compare prices.

What you should be looking for in credentials are City & Guilds – usually attained from class room sessions and part of an apprenticeship. NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) – students would have demonstrated practical training as well as coursework. HND (Higher National Diploma) – A more academic qualification equivalent to the first 2 years of a degree, there may be placements as part of job training. Another recognised qualification is being a member to the guild of master craftsmen, your tradesman would have already been checked for trustworthiness, so you have a guarantee immediately.

For the gas trade, it is a legal requirement that they must be Gas Safe registered. The yellow triangle symbol should be displayed on their livery, business card and website and will have a unique registration number specific to them. For electricians who work close to water pipes they must have Part P Qualifications and NICEIC (The National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting) or they may be a member of ECA (Electrical Contractors’ Association)

Once you have chosen a contractor to do specific work, check from various sources to have confidence in their work, check qualifications on trade association websites, references and don’t be embarrassed to ask them directly, if they seem to be avoiding the question then it is quite likely they may be bogus.