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    • CommentAuthorRichKen
    • CommentTimeDec 8th 2017
     
    Guys

    I live on the Isle of Wight and have just had gas piped on am looking to have a full gas central heating installation carried out. I find that the people I have approached to quote find every excuse to not provide any references. Is this normal? Before spending many thousands of pounds and having strangers in my house for a week I feel that it is only prudent to be able to talk to a couple of customers who have had a recent full CH installation. Am I expecting too much? Many thanks. Richard
  1.  
    Perfectly reasonable. Why would a good contractor be reluctant to point you towards a former customer, unless they are all very private characters?
  2.  
    I think it's reasonable. If you use sites like MyBuilder etc.. you can see their reviews & ratings before asking them for a quote.
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeDec 8th 2017 edited
     
    Posted By: RichKenBefore spending many thousands of pounds and having strangers in my house for a week I feel that it is only prudent to be able to talk to a couple of customers who have had a recent full CH installation


    definitely agree !

    I did not get references before ordering my windows.
    I was recommended to the firm by a "friend".
    I later found out that she got a gift..., she never stated what it was

    I spent *lots* of money on my windows, and got no gift (I did not expect a gift, just a good job...).

    The commercial geezer suggested that he use my house as a reference, to show off to his customers.
    I was not happy with this, since no consideration was offered, so I refused.

    I later found out that he got the sack.
    His replacement gave us an extra discount.
    Then tried to sell us an insulated garage door.
    I went on the web and did some rummaging and found a similar case to mine, with the same company.
    I went 10 miles up the road to an artisan joiner, and got a better door, for basically one-half the price.

    Moral of the story: get references; demand to see their insurance; demand to see employer certificates for their installation crews.
    I shall know for next time.
    I am pretty happy with the windows, although there are certainly some cold bridges in there,

    I get...
    ...too tired to fight about it,
    life in the fast lane
    everything, all the time...

    gg

    definitely would avoid major firms for any kit like this, in favour of a recommended artisan, no question about it.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2017
     
    google to find a self builder on the island. See if they would recommend the firm they used.
    • CommentAuthorRichKen
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2017
     
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: Nick Parsons</cite>Perfectly reasonable. Why would a good contractor be reluctant to point you towards a former customer, unless they are all very private characters?</blockquote>

    Dear Nick

    I would have thought that any heating engineer who had taken the time and trouble to visit and size up the job work out rad sizes and put a quote together would want to give themselves the best chance f getting the job by showing confidence in their work by offering a couple of references.

    #Ive also asked the same question on a couple of tradesman sites and had some rather surprising replies. I've never been asked for references so not about t start now. I'm far too busy to be arsed. People who ask for references usually turn out to be a PITA.

    I get the feeling that this sector of the building industry are rather arrogant or am I wrong? I've been self employed for fifty years and have never been afraid to provide references if asked and have often offered them even if not asked and it has not done me any harm. In fact I would say that it allowed a good start to a business relationship. Cheers Richard
    • CommentAuthorRichKen
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2017
     
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: CWatters</cite>google to find a self builder on the island. See if they would recommend the firm they used.</blockquote>

    Thanks, good idea. As I've only been here for a year and know very few people so this may be the only way but it may be a difficult one unless there are people on this forum who could give me some leads.

    Having spoken to a few people around where I live I get the distinct feeling that many tradesmen on the island are very laid back, not really interested in the work and work to low standards. I cannot speak from personnel experience apart from work done to the bodywork of my car which was done well and on time. Cheers, Richard
    • CommentAuthorRichKen
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2017
     
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: richardelliot</cite>I think it's reasonable. If you use sites like MyBuilder etc.. you can see their reviews & ratings before asking them for a quote.</blockquote>

    Thanks. Unfortunately the IOW does not have more than a very few people listed which does seem rather odd in a competitive world so not a very good source of leads. Cheers Richard
    • CommentAuthorRichKen
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2017
     
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: gyrogear</cite><blockquote><cite>Posted By: RichKen</cite>Before spending many thousands of pounds and having strangers in my house for a week I feel that it is only prudent to be able to talk to a couple of customers who have had a recent full CH installation</blockquote>

    definitely agree !

    I did not get references before ordering my windows.
    I was recommended to the firm by a "friend".
    I later found out that she got a gift..., she never stated what it was

    I spent *lots* of money on my windows, and got no gift (I did not expect a gift, just a good job...).

    The commercial geezer suggested that he use my house as a reference, to show off to his customers.
    I was not happy with this, since no consideration was offered, so I refused.

    I later found out that he got the sack.
    His replacement gave us an extra discount.
    Then tried to sell us an insulated garage door.
    I went on the web and did some rummaging and found a similar case to mine, with the same company.
    I went 10 miles up the road to an artisan joiner, and got a better door, for basically one-half the price.

    Moral of the story: get references; demand to see their insurance; demand to see employer certificates for their installation crews.
    I shall know for next time.
    I am pretty happy with the windows, although there are certainly some cold bridges in there,

    I get...
    ...too tired to fight about it,
    life in the fast lane
    everything, all the time...

    gg

    definitely would avoid major firms for any kit like this, in favour of a recommended artisan, no question about it.</blockquote>

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Having done all of the trades involved in house renovation I find it a bit strange to be buying in help now! I also know that the quality of one tradesman can be very different to another and where things can be done wrong etc. hence wanting references. I also am very aware that a good reference is only as good as the knowledge of the person providing the reference. Cheers Richard
    • CommentAuthorRichKen
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2017
     
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: Nick Parsons</cite>Perfectly reasonable. Why would a good contractor be reluctant to point you towards a former customer, unless they are all very private characters?</blockquote>

    Indeed, it does seem very odd to me and suggests either a high degree of arrogance or feeling of uncertainty. Cheers Richard
  3.  
    Have you contacted firms on 'the mainland'?
  4.  
    It reminds me of when I had my Boiler replaced, and the whole house changed to a pressurised mains system to remove the head tanks in the loft to help with my loft conversion, plus a solar cylinder..

    As an engineer I wrote a simple 2 page spec of what I wanted - just so I could be sure the plumbers all undersood what I wanted. Of 4 who turned up, only 1 quoted, which was a large local firm. I felt sure I saw fear on faces of the three 3 plumbers, when presented with a "specification"!

    Many small plumbers are OK, but they do have a tendency to "do what they do", not necesseraily what you want them to do.
  5.  
    I just Googled 'Recommended plumbers Isle of Wight'. I imagine you did too. Maybe some to start with. No 3rd party recommendations that I can see.
  6.  
    If there is a reluctance to provide references across the board this could imply that there is no real pressure to get work, either they are getting more than enough work or the rates they can charge give the lifestyle they want without extra hassle.

    An alternative would be to dispense with references and go with a tradesman you feel happy with (from discussions with them) and make sure they know that you understand about the job (they will probably gather that by your discussions) and then be around to make sure the job is done properly.

    References are probably only of value if you don't know what the tradespeople are supposed to be doing and have to trust them to be conscientious.
  7.  
    When we had references from friends, we found the things they had based them on were : punctuality, tidiness, and cheery manners.

    Our friends had not noticed whether the trades had left huge gaps in the airtight layer, or omitted the insulation, or dragged a 2day job out into a week. Which they proceeded to do to our place.

    We learned to prefer late messy grumpy tradesmen without references who understood what we were trying to do. They recommended each other, we were put on to the joiner by the builder, the joiner knew a plumber roofer and a sparky.
    • CommentAuthorRichKen
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2017
     
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: Nick Parsons</cite>Have you contacted firms on 'the mainland'?</blockquote>

    Hello Nick

    No because the ferry crossing is the big deterrent though obviously there is a far wider choice. There is also the point of what happens in the event of a system failure and I would like to build a relationship with a local firm if possible.

    I decided to spend the afternoon driving around trying to spot a house where work had been carried out recently to see if that might provide a lead and came back with several possibilities. Cheers Richard
  8.  
    Oh well, that sounds positive!

    Good luck in your search.
    • CommentAuthorRichKen
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2017
     
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: Nick Parsons</cite>I just Googled 'Recommended plumbers Isle of Wight'. I imagine you did too. Maybe some to start with. No 3rd party recommendations that I can see.</blockquote>

    Hello Nick

    Thanks for that, much appreciated. Yes I've done that too. I also got some names from the local plumbers merchants to follow up but the feeling that this trade really are not used or prepared to let prospective customers speak to a customer fills me with foreboding.

    What the heck have they got to hide I keep asking myself and the logical answer is rather unsettling. I called at a house just down the road on spec where someone was working preping a house for painting and had a chat. He gave me the name of an old school friend of his who works locally is a gas safe heating guy and he said that he could not see why there should be any reluctance, he also said that he was always happy to have potential customers talk to one of his customers. Hopefully I will get there in the end. If push comes to shove I will put in the central heating system myself and get the boiler put in and commissioned<BG> Cheers Richard
    • CommentAuthorRichKen
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2017
     
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: WillInAberdeen</cite>When we had references from friends, we found the things they had based them on were : punctuality, tidiness, and cheery manners.

    Our friends had not noticed whether the trades had left huge gaps in the airtight layer, or omitted the insulation, or dragged a 2day job out into a week. Which they proceeded to do to our place.

    We learned to prefer late messy grumpy tradesmen without references who understood what we were trying to do. They recommended each other, we were put on to the joiner by the builder, the joiner knew a plumber roofer and a sparky.</blockquote>

    Thanks William

    Yes I am always very cautious about references as so few who buy in such help have no idea if there have had a decant job or not but they would be able to tell you if so and so was good at working around problems, easy to work with, careless etc. impatient...throws his tools around.... It all helps to build up a picture. Cheers. Richard
    • CommentAuthorRichKen
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2017
     
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: Peter_in_Hungary</cite>If there is a reluctance to provide references across the board this could imply that there is no real pressure to get work, either they are getting more than enough work or the rates they can charge give the lifestyle they want without extra hassle.

    An alternative would be to dispense with references and go with a tradesman you feel happy with (from discussions with them) and make sure they know that you understand about the job (they will probably gather that by your discussions) and then be around to make sure the job is done properly.

    References are probably only of value if you don't know what the tradespeople are supposed to be doing and have to trust them to be conscientious.</blockquote>


    Good points Peter.

    I've not been averse to throwing builders of site in my early days along with a quantity surveyor managing my first large project back in 1970. That's when felt that I had to run projects myself and learn all the relevant trades which I did from underpinning, roofing, tiling, old stone tiling, electrics, plumbing, heating in all forms, joinery using new and old oak, stone and block work, plastering......etc. I always had the freedom of working on buildings that were a major project rather than doing a retrofit in a small modern box! Chers, Richard
    • CommentAuthorRichKen
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2017
     
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: dimengineer</cite>It reminds me of when I had my Boiler replaced, and the whole house changed to a pressurised mains system to remove the head tanks in the loft to help with my loft conversion, plus a solar cylinder..

    As an engineer I wrote a simple 2 page spec of what I wanted - just so I could be sure the plumbers all undersood what I wanted. Of 4 who turned up, only 1 quoted, which was a large local firm. I felt sure I saw fear on faces of the three 3 plumbers, when presented with a "specification"!

    Many small plumbers are OK, but they do have a tendency to "do what they do", not necesseraily what you want them to do.</blockquote>

    I do understand! If one is used to quality work to spec it is difficult to accept sub standard or simply results that miss the target, which is I imagine why many people DIY. Cheers,Richard
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