Don’t Be a Victim of a Cowboy Builder

Cowboy builders are the bane of the construction industry. There are, on average, at least 100,000 complaints every year about them. They ruin things for perfectly reputable builders, and for all the talk about them, they’re in the minority – it just happens to be a minority that gets a lot of publicity.

Cowboy builders are simply rogue traders, of course, often with little or no knowledge of building, so you end up with a botched job – that’s if it’s finished at all.


The best thing is to learn to spot the cowboy builders early, so you can turn them away – it saves a lot of trouble later. The first tip-off is if they asked to be paid in cash, or cash-in-hand all with a promise on no VAT to be paid. No legitimate business will work off the books like that.

If they say a contract isn’t necessary, watch out – it’s vital in a business transaction like this, and without it, your legal position is nowhere near as strong. Most rogue builders don’t carry insurance, either, which again could work to your detriment if an accident occurred.

Are they willing to provide a written estimate and costings for the job, as well as a time frame for each stage of the work? A proper tradesman would, quite gladly. Where they do offer a quote, it could be unusually low, and they might offer to begin work immediately.

Do they have references? Do they have premises and a landline number, or simply a van and a mobile?

All of the above should raise red flags. You can protect yourself by having everything in writing and ask for a guarantee. Check references, talk to the people who’ve had the work done, and look at the work if possible. Ask your family and your friends for recommendations. Get several estimates and remember, cheapest isn’t always a savings.

It’s a help, too, if the builders and members of some trade group – although check that as well, since cowboy building firms have been known to fake membership. Finally, never pay in cash, and certainly never upfront – you should only pay for work that’s been completed.


Sometimes, though, the cowboys do win, and the building work is a shambles. What should have been wonderful construction work is a mess, and the builders have moved on. What can you do?

What they’ve done constitutes fraud, so you should complain to the police, giving them as much information on the builder as possible. Also complain to Trading Standards, which takes a very harsh view of rogue traders.

If you can track down the cowboy builder and he refuses to refund your money, take him to court. In the event of a small job, small claims court will likely suffice, and won’t cost you much. In the event of a big job, though, you will be looking at some hefty legal bills.Either way, it’s a lot of problems, and you still need to employ a proper builder to do the work correctly. The best solution, always, is to take the time and find someone who’ll do it right the first time.

“G-Tech service” are reliable and trustworthy builders, plasterers and decorators in Glasgow. Choosing our company you can be sure that your building work will be done quickly and to the highest standards of quality, whilst providing best value for money.

Posted in Builders Glasgow

Loft Conversion Regulations

A loft conversion for your house is considered to be permitted development, not requiring an application for planning permission, provided certain limits and conditions are met.

1. Loft conversions are NOT permitted development for houses on designated land (designated land includes national parks and the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas and World Heritage Sites).

2. To be permitted development any additional roof space created must not exceed these volume allowances:
40 cubic metres for terraced houses
50 cubic metres for detached and semi-detached houses

Bear in mind that any previous roof space additions must be included within this volume
allowance. Although you may not have created additional space a previous owner may have
done so.

3. An extension beyond the plane of the existing roof slope of the principal elevation that fronts a highway is NOT permitted development.

4. Materials to be similar in appearance to the existing house.

5. No part of the extension to be higher than the highest part of the existing roof.

6. Verandas, balconies or raised platforms are NOT permitted development.

7. Any side-facing windows must be obscure glazed and non-opening unless the parts which can be opened are more than 1.7 metres above the floor of the room in which it is installed.

8. Roof extensions, apart from hip to gable ones, to be set back, as far as is practicable, at least 20 cms from the eaves.

9. Work on a loft or a roof may affect bats. You need to consider protected species when planning work of this type. A survey may be needed, and if bats are using the building, a licence may be required.

The permitted development allowances described here apply to houses, not flats, maisonettes or other buildings. You should check with your Local Planning Authority whether permitted development rights apply – they may have been removed. Other consents may be required if your house is listed or in a designated area.


Building regulations approval is required to convert a loft or attic into a liveable space. This section provides guidance for making alterations to the loft space of an existing house which is no more than two storeys high. Requirements for alterations to an apartment or other dwellings like maisonettes, or houses over three storeys, will be similar but may be more extensive and possibly extend to other parts of the building.

The regulations will be applied to ensure, for example:
the structural strength of the new floor is sufficient
the stability of the structure (including the existing roof) is not endangered
safe escape from fire
safely designed stairs to the new floor
reasonable sound insulation between the conversion and the rooms below

If you plan to make the loft space more accessible or more habitable by, for example, installing a stair to it and improving it by boarding it out and lining the walls / rafters etc, more extensive work is likely to be required and the Building Regulations are likely to apply.

It is recommended that you contact Building Control to discuss your proposal and for further advice and you must also find out whether work you intend to carry out falls within The Party Wall etc. Act 1996.


If you decide to create a liveable space (a ‘livable space’ is where you intend to use the room as a normal part of your house, this includes spare bedrooms which may be used infrequently) in an existing loft space of a home it is likely to require a range of alterations.

Many of these could have an adverse impact on the building and its occupants if they are not properly thought out, planned and undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the legislation.

With regard to the structural stability of the existing walls when undertaking a conversion of a loft space, consideration will need to be given as to how the new loads will be supported. For example, if new floor joists are provided and they are to be supported by an existing wall, the wall will need to continue all the way down through the house to a foundation or alternatively the wall will need to be provided with an adequate intermediate support.

Some houses have through lounges on the ground floor where the existing load-bearing wall that did take a load down to the foundation has been removed, or it may have originally been built as a through lounge, with a steel/timber beam installed over the opening. This beam should be checked that it is strong enough to carry any new loads from the loft conversion are added.

Generally the additional load (weight) from construction and use of the new loft room(s) does not mean a significant increase on the load being transferred to the foundations.

However, in some cases, the increase in load could be significant and the adequacy of the existing foundations to carry this extra load will need to be checked. It may be necessary for the capability of the foundations to be increased by underpinning them. A structural engineer or your Building Control Body will be able to advise you.


When converting an existing roof space into a room or rooms the provisions for escape need to be considered throughout the full extent of the escape route. This often means that additional fire protection will be necessary in the existing parts of the house.

For example, a typical loft conversion to a two-storey house will result in the need to provide new fire-resisting doors and sometimes partitions to protect the stairway. This is because it is too dangerous to escape via windows from floors above first floor level.

Mains powered, interlinked smoke alarms will also need to be provided within the stairway at each level.

It may also be necessary to upgrade the fire protection to some parts of the structure of the house such as the floors.

G-tech Service Glasgow offer highest quality loft conversions, extension in Glasgow area. We are also experienced and skilled builders, plasterers and decorators.

Posted in Builders Glasgow

All About Paint – Tips from G-Tech Service Glasgow

We see it everywhere and on everything. In the home, painting is one of the most frequent and popular home repairs made by home owners and renters. But what is this stuff? And when you go to buy it, on what do you base your decision? Is the £7/litre paint as good as the £25/litre paint? And what about latex paint and oil base paint? Or primer?

It can all be confusing and as a result many people just base the decision on price and get the cheapest paint they can buy. All to find out that they need to paint and re-coat and re-coat and re-coat again, just to get the cheap paint to cover.

Paint is a mixture of four basic ingredients: Pigments; Resins; Solvents; Additives

Cheap paints have a higher percentage of solvents per volume, say a litre. As a result there is less pigment and resins in the litre of cheap paint than high quality paint which can have 50% more pigment and resins than the cheap stuff. What this means is that most of what you are applying with cheap paint is water or mineral spirits (solvents up to 70%) which evaporate and leave little pigment behind. This is why you have to re-coat and re-coat up to four times with low quality paint before enough pigment is left behind to cover the colour underneath.

At the end of the day, all paints basically fall under two solvent categories which define their type; mineral spirit based (commonly known as paint thinner) or water based. In common convention these paints are referred to as oil based paint (alkyd resin base thinned with mineral spirits) or latex based paint (water thinned). Ironically neither latex based paint nor oil based paint contain latex or oil.

Latex paint is the most common and environmentally responsible providing for soap and water clean up. These paints also dry faster and have less odour from VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). Water based latex paints have come a long way and are extremely high performing paints.

Alkyd paint is a hazardous material and is sometimes regulated by local councils.

Latex Paint is the most common type of paint for home use for a few reasons.
It has soap and water clean up;
Environmentally responsible
Excellent performance;
Flexible so it withstands movement;
Can prevent mildew and moisture;
Fast drying;
Extensive colour selections and paint sheens.

You can use water based latex paint in almost any application in the home, from exterior paint and trim, to interior walls and woodwork.

Alkyd paint is not commonly used in home painting applications. It used to be that these paints were the standard for bathrooms and other “wet” areas since they were easy to scrub, had a higher sheen and were more durable than the early latex paints.

That is no longer true and now many latex paints equal or even outperform alkyd based paints because of the other benefits of latex paint.

Alkyd paints, when used in the home, are most commonly used for areas having high wear or prone to impact. These include trim, floors and sometimes cabinets. Another benefit to alkyd is it has a longer drying time than latex paint so it does not show brush strokes as much, an advantage when painting trim, woodwork and cabinetry.

Some disadvantages of alkyd paint include:
It is more expensive than latex paint
Odour intensive when drying and gives off VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) Requires chemical solvent clean up using mineral spirits (paint thinner)
Some local councils restrict the use of this paint because of the hazardous materials it creates in the waste stream.

Another consideration in selecting the proper paint is a factor called paint sheen. Paint sheen refers to how shiny the dried paint surface becomes. There are three basic sheens:
Flat or Eggshell
Semi-Gloss or Satin

Flat or Eggshell paints have the least amount of sheen. As a result, flat paints are the most forgiving in terms of showing minor wall imperfections. Think of a car with bad bodywork. If it were painted glossy black, you would see every flaw. If it were painted a flat white, you would not notice the flaws anywhere near as much. So flat paint is good for hiding imperfections in the drywall tape joints. Add texture to the mix which hides even more flaws and you have the reason textured ceilings painted with flat paint are so common. Flat paint is most commonly used in all walls and ceilings in the home. The most common exceptions to this generalised statement is the bathroom and kitchen.

Semi-Gloss or Satin paint is most commonly used in rooms requiring more frequent scrubbing such as the kitchen or baths. The problem with scrubbing flat paint is is may develop a slight sheen. So using a paint with some sheen to start with mitigates this problem and makes clean up easier.

Gloss paint is really pretty seldom used in the home except for some woodwork and trim, or special areas where a highly reflective sheen is desired.

If you are looking for professional and reliable painters and decorators in Glasgow area, do not hesitate – call G-tech Service Glasgow today for a free, no obligation quote.

Posted in Painters and Decorators Glasgow


Welcome to the new builders blog and website of Gas Service Glasgow where we hope to get feedback from customers and build an excellent website for customers to see what they can have. Our aims for the new site going forward are:

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Builders Service Glasgow

Posted in House improvements centre