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Need a plumber, electrician, or roofer? Find a trader who’s up to the mark

Finding the right tradespeople can be a real challenge. The most common complaints are around poor quality of work and a general lack of professionalism resulting in electrical problems and structural issues.

According to Ombudsman Services, a not-for-profit, privately run company, the “rogue trader” issue is exacerbated by the fact that six in 10 homeowners fail to check credentials before commissioning work.

Getting a personal recommendation from someone you trust is normally the best way of finding a reliable tradesperson. But if that doesn’t work, where else can you go?

Many local authorities run their own “trusted trading schemes” with lists of plumbers, roofers, electricians and others who have all been strictly vetted by trading standards. You can use the postcode search at the Trading Standards website to find a scheme in your area.Advertisement

Consumer organisation Which? operates Which? Local. Only Which? members can post reviews which are all verified for authenticity. Average price and job completion data are also included. The drawback? You have to join Which? to access the site at £1 for the first month and then £10.75 a month.

You can also use TrustMark to find tradespeople operating to government-endorsed standards. Again, enter your postcode, choose the type of trader and the database is searched within 50 miles.

TrustMark (consumer helpline 01344 630 804) is a not-for-profit organisation, licensed by government and supported by consumer protection groups. All firms carrying the TrustMark logo and featured on the website, are required to have their technical skills independently checked through regular on-site inspections.

But always remember, however you find a trader, always check their credentials. Even TrustMark, which, unlike many commercial directories, takes responsibility for the quality of work, warns: “Always check they are ‘licensed’ for all the trades/work you are asking them to carry out.

“This can be done on its website: search ‘trade’ then ‘company name’ and under ‘more information’ you will see ‘only’ the trades the firm is licensed for by TrustMark.”

Also check qualifications to make sure the person is able to complete your job safely and at a high standard. All those dealing with jobs involving gas, for example, must, by law, be registered with Gas Safe, formerly known as CORGI.

Similarly, “Part P” regulations need to be complied with to carry out most electrical work. Use competentperson.co.uk to find a local electrician registered with a government-approved scheme showing they work to the UK national safety standard (BS 7671) and will give you a safety certificate to confirm this.