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Don’t let a niggle turn into a complaint

Complaining; some of us are really good at it and some of us just feel embarrassed to, so just put up and shut up. Complaining can be an art form and if done at the right point can stop little niggles escalating into huge problems. Here at the CIPHE, we are contacted regularly by members of the public who have a complaint against a tradesperson. Luckily, a very small number are against CIPHE members, but when it does happen it usually leads back to one thing; a breakdown in communication.

Here are the CIPHE’s top tips for ensuring everyone stays happy;

1) Do your research and know your facts; things to think about include:

  • What is your budget?
  • Who are you going to get quotes from?
  • Who is buying the materials?
  • Do you need any other trades on site?
  • Are you going to source them or do you want your plumber/heating engineer to?
  • Are there parking restrictions in your area which will affect where tradespeople can park?
  • Are there any restrictions on when they can work?
  • When does work need to start?

 

2) Have a plan; unless it is an emergency, make sure you know exactly what you want from the very beginning.  Be really precise with your requirements and make sure you communicate them clearly (right from the quoting stage). Remember, if you change your mind half way through a project, your costs and timescales will change too. Your engineer may have already booked work in, so if a project changes significantly then you may have to wait for your job to be finished around other work.

3) Get three quotes; make sure you get at least three quotes and that you have double checked your tradesperson’s qualifications and professional registrations. See the find a plumber page to find CIPHE registered plumbing and heating engineers in your area.

4) Cheapest is not always best; if someone is significantly cheaper than the rest find out why - they may not have understood all your requirements or they may be using cheaper materials.

5) Choose a CIPHE member; every member of the CIPHE has voluntarily signed up to its six point Code of Professional Standards. Because members are vetted before being accepted into the Chartered Institute, the public can be confident that they will be employing someone with the necessary skills and commitment to high standards.

6) The Chartered Institute's Disciplinary Committee oversees adherence to the Code and should a complaint be received about a member, has the ultimate power to remove that person from membership. Professional Standards Inspectors have been appointed to inspect members' work or to investigate complaints if the Committee considers this necessary. The CIPHE logo identifies a professional who is competent, responsible and dedicated to the ideas represented by the Code.

7) Keep talking; this is the really important one. Don’t assume your tradesperson is psychic (they invariably aren’t) and don’t be afraid to ask questions. They are professionals and won’t mind at all being asked how systems work or what their opinion is on where something should be installed. On the other hand if you see something that you are in doubt about say something straight away - it will be easy to rectify at the very beginning of the job, not so easy at the end.

8) The unforeseen does happen; there will be jobs where something doesn’t get delivered on time, or an engineer has to go out in search of a component that needs replacing, or the engineer can’t find the issue and needs to come back. Not everyone is a candidate from Rogue Traders, these things happen to genuine tradespeople too. Just make sure you have discussed any associated changes to timescales etc and are happy with the outcome.

9) And if you do need to make a complaint; stay calm and measured. Start with a positive, then discuss any negatives. Ask why something has been done in a certain way first as there may be a logical explanation. The aim is to get the work rectified without it turning into a huge issue - especially if there is more work to be done. If your discussion breaks down and the work isn’t going to be rectified, there is further action you can take if they are a CIPHE member.

10) The CIPHE Code of Professional Standards; every member of the CIPHE has voluntarily signed up to its six point Code of Professional Standards. Because members are vetted before being accepted into the Chartered Institute, the public can be confident that they will be employing someone with the necessary skills and commitment to high standards, but if things do go wrong, then the Institute's Disciplinary Committee oversees adherence to the Code.

Should a complaint be received about a member which is deemed to have broken the code, the Complaints Procedure gives another medium through which the issues can be discussed and rectified. Find out more at: http://www.ciphe.org.uk/consumer/code/ 

 

Here are the CIPHE’s top tips for ensuring everyone stays happy;

1) Do your research and know your facts; things to think about include:

  • What is your budget?
  • Who are you going to get quotes from?
  • Who is buying the materials?
  • Do you need any other trades on site?
  • Are you going to source them or do you want your plumber/heating engineer to?
  • Are there parking restrictions in your area which will affect where tradespeople can park?
  • Are there any restrictions on when they can work?
  • When does work need to start?

 

2) Have a plan; unless it is an emergency, make sure you know exactly what you want from the very beginning.  Be really precise with your requirements and make sure you communicate them clearly (right from the quoting stage). Remember, if you change your mind half way through a project, your costs and timescales will change too. Your engineer may have already booked work in, so if a project changes significantly then you may have to wait for your job to be finished around other work.

3) Get three quotes; make sure you get at least three quotes and that you have double checked your tradesperson’s qualifications and professional registrations. See the find a plumber page to find CIPHE registered plumbing and heating engineers in your area.

4) Cheapest is not always best; if someone is significantly cheaper than the rest find out why - they may not have understood all your requirements or they may be using cheaper materials.

5) Choose a CIPHE member; every member of the CIPHE has voluntarily signed up to its six point Code of Professional Standards. Because members are vetted before being accepted into the Chartered Institute, the public can be confident that they will be employing someone with the necessary skills and commitment to high standards.

6) The Chartered Institute's Disciplinary Committee oversees adherence to the Code and should a complaint be received about a member, has the ultimate power to remove that person from membership. Professional Standards Inspectors have been appointed to inspect members' work or to investigate complaints if the Committee considers this necessary. The CIPHE logo identifies a professional who is competent, responsible and dedicated to the ideas represented by the Code.

7) Keep talking; this is the really important one. Don’t assume your tradesperson is psychic (they invariably aren’t) and don’t be afraid to ask questions. They are professionals and won’t mind at all being asked how systems work or what their opinion is on where something should be installed. On the other hand if you see something that you are in doubt about say something straight away - it will be easy to rectify at the very beginning of the job, not so easy at the end.

8) The unforeseen does happen; there will be jobs where something doesn’t get delivered on time, or an engineer has to go out in search of a component that needs replacing, or the engineer can’t find the issue and needs to come back. Not everyone is a candidate from Rogue Traders, these things happen to genuine tradespeople too. Just make sure you have discussed any associated changes to timescales etc and are happy with the outcome.

9) And if you do need to make a complaint; stay calm and measured. Start with a positive, then discuss any negatives. Ask why something has been done in a certain way first as there may be a logical explanation. The aim is to get the work rectified without it turning into a huge issue - especially if there is more work to be done. If your discussion breaks down and the work isn’t going to be rectified, there is further action you can take if they are a CIPHE member.

10) The CIPHE Code of Professional Standards; every member of the CIPHE has voluntarily signed up to its six point Code of Professional Standards. Because members are vetted before being accepted into the Chartered Institute, the public can be confident that they will be employing someone with the necessary skills and commitment to high standards, but if things do go wrong, then the Institute's Disciplinary Committee oversees adherence to the Code.

Should a complaint be received about a member which is deemed to have broken the code, the Complaints Procedure gives another medium through which the issues can be discussed and rectified. Find out more at: http://www.ciphe.org.uk/consumer/code/