NEARLY two-thirds of Sunderland homeowners pay for building jobs cash in hand, according to a survey.
The Master Builder of the Year Awards says such an attempt to avoid paying VAT leaves Wearsiders vulnerable to cut-and-run rogue builders.
Sunderland-born architect and Channel 4 presenter George Clarke, who will host the awards, has advice for homeowners.
He said: “If you pay a builder large amounts of cash up front, then you leave yourself vulnerable to them increasing the price or walking off the job half-way through and you don’t have any warranty if it all goes wrong.
“By using a reputable builder, signing a contract, and organising staged payments with receipts, you will have recourse if it all goes wrong.”
Every year UK homeowners are duped out of £2.6million on slapdash work.
June Davidson, regional director for the Federation of Master Builders, said: “Choosing your builder on price alone can be a false economy, which may neither add value to your property nor make for a smooth building project.”