A drop in "do-it-yourself" activity among homeowners could lead to a rise in rogue builders, warns the Federation of Master Builders.

The news that 41% of homeowners would rather pay for a professional than carry out DIY came as no surprise to the FMB, with people preferring a professional finish to potential complications of tackling a job themselves.

“We Britons are working longer hours and many people don't want to spend what little free time they have battling with shelves and wrestling with rolls of wallpaper, only to wind up with a shoddy finish,” said Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB. “Inexperienced DIY enthusiasts can often do more harm than good so in the interests of domestic harmony and peace of mind, hiring a builder is a good idea."

"However if more people are going to hire a builder – whether it be for simple or complex tasks – they must approach it in the right way and protect themselves from rogue traders.”

When hiring a tradesperson, FMB says home owners should use a recommendation from a friend or, if that's not possible, they should approach a professional trade association like the Federation of Master Builders' and use its 'Find a Builder' service.

"Top tips for home owners to bear in mind when choosing a builder include the need to always ask at least three tradespeople to quote for the work,” Mr Berry advised. “Also, rather than opting for the cheapest quote, take the time to talk to the builders' previous customers – visit one of their recent projects and ask the person who commissioned the work how they found their builder. Once you have chosen your builder, be sure to use a written contract before asking them to start the work. These straightforward checks can make all the difference and will help people avoid any unnecessary stress. After all, that's the whole point of commissioning a professional to do the work."