Should my builder take his tools with him when he finishes for the day?
No matter whether it’s a plumber, a carpenter, or a plasterer, a tradesperson’s tools are their lifeline. Built up over time, with specialist tools that can often cost thousands of pounds, makes anyone in the building trade very protective about where they leave their tools overnight.
Most builders will have tool insurance, but not all will have the same cover. They might only be covered for tools left in their van during the day or at their home overnight, but not overnight on the job. Before you start any major work, it is crucial that you discuss with your builder whether they are taking their tools with them or leaving them on site, and who would be liable for any potential loss, damage or theft, should an accident happen.
If your builder takes his tools home at the end of the day, then the responsibility lies with him or her. It also means you can enjoy your home in the evenings looking less like a building site without any big tool boxes, cables or power tools getting in the way, especially if you have inquisitive pets or children.
It is also a builder’s sole responsibility to provide a duty of care so that you, the client, are not endangered in any way in the scope of their work. For the builder it will be in their best interest and yours, that they take the tools home to avoid any health and safety incidents with tools left unattended.
However, there are also occasions when it can be beneficial for a builder to leave his tools on site. Firstly, it’s a good sign that they’ll be back to finish the job. A tradesman can’t juggle two or more jobs if all his tools are on one site. By leaving their tools with you, it gives you the reassurance that your job is their No.1 priority and they’re committed to finishing the project. If they don’t come back or do a runner, then you have their tools to cost against any financial loss.
With many specialist tools requiring a big investment, most good builders will only leave their tools in situ if they are confident they will be safe. If the extension or renovation work is left secure and the house is occupied, then many builders will be happy to leave their bigger power tools on site, so they don’t have to keep setting up their working space everytime they arrive on the job.
Ultimately, with any building project, whether they decide to leave their tools on your premises or not, it’s a good idea to be upfront with your builder about the issues involved before any significant work begins.