How to find the right builder

Find the right builder for the job and get going in five steps.

Making changes to your home can be an exciting time. It can also be a little daunting. So making sure you get the right tradespeople for the job is important. Here’s how to find the right builder in five simple steps:

1. Reliable recommendations

Recommendations are a good place to start when you’re looking for a builder. Ask around and speak to people you know who had renovation work done themselves. Don’t forget, though, it’s worth considering the type of work you are undertaking. If someone suggests a builder who helped with a bathroom renovation and you’re looking to fit a conservatory, they may not be the best fit for the job.

Put together a list of detailed questions and ask how much each part will cost. This should help you find someone qualified for the job within your budget.

2. Research

When you’ve found your builder (or building team), research the company. Check their trading history and any credentials they may have. For example, it’s always good to see a stamp of approval from the Federation of Master Builders.

Your chosen builder should be happy to answer any queries you have and provide you with contact details for their business. If they seem cagey or defensive then ask yourself ‘why’. You want someone you can trust. 

3. Money talk

Cost is an important factor in any renovation work – whether it’s big or small. Be clear on your expectations and on the initial estimate or quote. An estimate can look like the dream until you’re presented with a costly bill at the end. So, if you’re worried about running over, or if finances are finite, go with a detailed quote instead of an estimate. It’s much easier to see if there will be any additional costs for added labour or materials as the project gets underway.

Keep talking about money. Stay updated with any changes and perhaps even arrange to pay in instalments to help spread the cost.

4. Write it down

Draw up a clear agreement with your chosen builder. Work together to create a brief and plan of action that is well thought out, researched and agreed – and then write it all down.

Make sure you have a written copy of the quote and your contract. The contract should include your start and finish date, rates and material costs. Make sure you check that everything is considered. For example, if you’ll need waste removing or a skip hired ensure it’s all down on paper and you know the price. Then make sure that any changes that happen as you go are also logged and written, so there are no grey areas when you get to the end of the build.

5. Update your home insurer

Finally, let your home insurer know what’s happening. If you’re making substantial changes to your property (for example adding a bedroom, bathroom or another living space) this could impact your home insurance policy.

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