Capture it, transform it

With the lasting effects of the pandemic and the reluctance of some to still to venture too far from home, many people have found themselves taking solace in their homes over the last two years. Many have seized the opportunity to reinvent and redesign their outdoor spaces.

Since the 2020 lockdown, many paving contractors have reported increased enquiries from potential customers. New paving businesses have emerged, with demand outweighing the supply of available skilled workers. Unfortunately, some of these new businesses do not have the same high level of skills to match their intentions to carry out good work.

At Brett, we have put together a tick list of “must dos” that you should consider when selecting a landscaper:

1. How to find an accredited paving installer

Brett operates the Brett Approved Installer (BAI) scheme. This scheme aims to promote best practices within the paving sector. With members of the scheme across the country, we always strive to work alongside some of the best contractors.

You can find an installer near you by visiting our website.

GeoCeramica Impasto Porcelain and Beta Block Paving
GeoCeramica Impasto Porcelain and Beta Block Paving

2. Does your contractor offer paving installation guarantees?

When speaking to any prospective paving contractor, ask what guarantees they will be able to offer in terms of workmanship and materials. Our approved installers are required to provide a minimum of five years installation guarantee on their workmanship; they will also be able to offer a 10-year warranty on Brett paving materials.

3. How long has the contractor been in business?

While everybody needs to start somewhere, we at Brett always suggest contacting an established paving contractor to seek advice and guidance on your project.

Before being accepted onto our Brett Approved Installer scheme, contractors must demonstrate a minimum of 12 months of trading history.

4. Is the contractor experienced in using the project’s paving materials?

Brett Landscaping’s portfolio of products carries many materials – from natural stone and concrete to porcelain paving and block paving. All customers must have assurances that the team fitting their garden paving or driveway design has experience working with the required materials.

Brett Landscaping’s Installer Development Managers aim to conduct assessments on all approved contractors across a range of different products using different materials. This gives us the confidence to provide these businesses with our stamp of approval.

5. Does the paving contractor have proof of insurance?

Any reputable tradesperson will have all the appropriate insurances to protect themselves, their staff, customers and the public. Make sure anybody you consider employing can provide copies of their certificates of insurance.

All Brett Approved Installers must have a minimum of £1 million cover.

Eclipse Porcelain and Delta Block Paving
Eclipse Porcelain and Delta Block Paving

6. Do they have references and a portfolio of work?

Credible contractors should be more than happy to provide you with multiple examples of positive customer feedback and a portfolio of existing work. Social media is also a powerful tool, with many businesses showcasing the best jobs across Facebook and Instagram*.

(*Don’t forget! Brett Landscaping has an Inspirations page on our website, which showcases some of our Brett Approved Installer garden and driveway makeovers.)

7. Will they provide a written contract?

If things don’t go to plan, protect yourself as best you can by having a written contract and Scope of Work document. This will outline what the contractor is responsible for and what you are responsible for (i.e., provision for power, toilet facilities, arranging any necessary third-party trades, etc.)

The Scope of Work document should be as detailed as possible, encompassing all areas of the project, from something as minor as needing a step to the exact installation method of the product. Make sure you are documenting in writing any changes to any element of the project (which must then be signed by relevant parties).

8. Do they comply with relevant codes of practice?

While having your new project laid, you wouldn’t usually expect a visit from your local Building Control Department; however, there are British Standards, codes of practice and manufacturing installation recommendations that all contractors must adhere to.

Good contractors should be knowledgeable and confident in explaining any relevant requirements. Our Brett Approved Installers undergo assessments to ensure compliance with applicable codes of practice, standards and installation methods.

9. Have you set clear payment terms with your contractor?

Now more than ever, it is crucial to make every penny spent to have a maximum return in terms of functionality and aesthetics. Projects can range from a few hundred pounds to hundreds of thousands. Regardless of your budget, establish the payment terms before any work begins.

Some contractors may require a holding deposit to secure a timeslot for your project if demand is high.

Lugano Graphite Grey with Misty Grey Borders
Lugano Graphite Grey with Misty Grey Borders

10. Does the cost sound too good to be true?

If it seems too good to be true, quite often it is.

Avoid door knockers – if somebody approaches you claiming they can do work at a heavily discounted price, this should be a cause for concern. Do not be pressured into making decisions immediately; instead, think about who you’ve seen, how you feel and who you think you’ll enjoy the best working relationship with.

We suggest getting a minimum of three quotes before undertaking any wit’s(it’s important to remember that the cheapest and quickest does not always equate to the best).

Most installations run smoothly, but projects provided by reputable companies always run far smoother. Head to the Brett website to find your nearest Brett Approved Installer or call our Customer Service Team today on 0345 60 80 578.

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