Federation of Master Builders

Code of Practice

Choosing a builder who’s a member of the FMB means a really good start to any building project. The FMB is a trade association that promotes professionalism and high quality workmanship among small and medium-sized building firms throughout the UK.


Only builders and specialists who can comply with the FMB entry criteria are accepted as members. The Federation logo on builders’ vehicles and stationery is widely accepted as the hallmark of a builder who takes pride in the quality of their work, and who matches it with an equally well-run business.


In addition, the FMB Code of Practice means that you can expect the following professional and ethical working procedures and practices from the FMB builder you have selected.


Before work begins:

Your FMB builder will try to make sure that you have all the professional advice you need on the project if it is a large or complex job. This may involve the support of architects, surveyors or other specialist professionals.


An FMB builder should never quote on a project for which they have insufficient time or are otherwise unsuited to undertake.


They will make sure that they have sufficient public liability and employer’s liability insurance cover for the contract.


Their quotation should state the following:


  • the price

  • what is included in the price

  • what form of agreement will be used between you (For instance, the Crystal Mark approved FMB Plain English Contracts, which are clear and unambiguous).


The contract should state the following:


  • how long the job will take

  • when the work can start

  • whether the work is covered by an insurance-backed warranty, such as the MasterBond warranty which can be offered by MasterBond Warranted Builders.

  • Payment terms

  • Alternatively, your builder may quote a daywork rate and provide a copy of standard terms and conditions.

Whilst work is in progress the following is recommended


  • Your builder will proceed with the work according to the agreement between you, and will brief you regularly on progress. Your builder will give the appropriate notices to the Building Control Authority, if they are required, and if this is agreed in your contract with the builder

  • If there are unavoidable problems or delays you will be informed of these as early as possible

  • Your builder will supply you with samples of materials and fittings for prior approval, if required

  • If there are changes to the work specified or extra costs, these will be confirmed in writing and agreed with you before such work begins

  • Your builder, their employees and subcontractors will at all times treat you and your property with respect and ensure that the working site remains a safe and healthy environment

  • Your builder will take responsibility for any subcontractors that he engages and for their work


When the work is complete the following is recommended
  • Your builder will leave the site clean and tidy, ready for use and dispose of any waste properly

  • Any relevant instructions and guarantees will be handed over to you and you will be properly briefed about any relevant maintenance or operating issues

  • A date will be arranged for your builder to return and complete any defects which may have arisen during the first few months

...plus a few things you can do to help your builder deliver a first class job

Help yourself and your FMB builder by following these simple guidelines - to make sure that you will both be proud of the finished result.


Before work begins:


  • If necessary get competitive quotes from more than one builder and make sure they understand exactly what you want done

  • Ensure that you have sufficient funds available when needed

  • Choose a builder with a proven track record in the kind of work you’re having done

  • Use an approved form of contract such as one of the FMB Plain English Contracts. Sign before work begins, or alternatively, agree a daywork rate subject to normal terms and conditions (this can be a suitable arrangement for emergency or minor works)

  • Make sure that you understand the quotation and agreement and that it is signed and accepted by both you and your builder

  • Ensure that the site is cleared and ready for the builder to start work

  • Make sure your builder has unhindered access to the site


Whilst work is in progress:


  • Develop a good working relationship with your builder. If you have any concerns about the work, discuss them with your builder as soon as possible

  • Keep extras to a minimum and instruct your builder in writing about all variations to the specified work

  • Choose materials and finishes carefully and approve them before use

  • Make any agreed stage payments or reasonable up-front payments promptly


When the work is complete:


  • Report any urgent defects to your builder promptly and in writing

  • List any non-urgent defects for your builder to correct at an agreed time

  • Settle the final account promptly


What to do if you or your builder have a disagreement:
  • First, try and resolve the disagreement by discussion and by checking your agreement or contract

  • If you are not able to sort things out between yourselves, contact your local FMB office for advice. FMB members agree to follow our Dispute Resolution Procedure