5 ways to get the best out of your builder
Here’s how to find the right builder for you, and to make sure they do a job you can be proud of.
We know your home is important to you. So whether it’s a small job or a whole renovation project, choosing a good and trustworthy builder can feel like a big decision. After all, you’re trusting them with one of your most valuable assets.
Here are a few ways you might be able to sort the cowboys from the trusty traders, and how to make sure you’re happy with the work from start to finish.
1. Ask around
If a builder comes recommended by someone you trust, that’s a good place to start. However, you need more than just a name and a thumbs up. If a builder did a great job on someone’s conservatory but you need them to fit a bathroom, they might not be the right builder for you. Ask detailed questions about the kind of project they did and how much it cost. This should help you narrow down your search to a few builders who are good at the kind of job you want, and can do it within your budget.
2. Do your research
Once you have a builder in mind, research them and their company. Check their trading history, plus any accreditation scheme and trade association credentials they may have. A stamp of approval from the Federation of Master Builders, for example, is a great sign. Be wary if the builder is cagey about answering your questions. If they’re reluctant to give you details about their business, such as an address or a landline telephone number, ask yourself ‘why?’
3. Agree on exactly what it is you want done
It’s important to always have a clear agreement with your builder. Develop a brief that’s well thought-out, researched and agreed between the both of you. This will help you to begin your project on a high, as everyone will be clear about what needs to be done.
4. Be clear on money
Of course, this is a major worry for many people looking for a builder. That initial estimate can soon look like a dream, compared to the nightmare bill you’re presented with at the end. To avoid this, make sure you get a detailed quote, rather than an estimate. And never pay all the money up front. Instead, pay in installments either in cash with a receipt or bank transfer. This way there is a clear record of payment for work completed. Don’t just get a verbal quote either, be sure you get a written copy of the quote and the work that’s been agreed. Which brings us to our last step…
5. Get it all down in black and white
Once you’ve all agreed on what needs doing, and the budget, get it all in a contract. And make sure it covers both the big and the small details. The contract should cover start and finish dates, agreed rates and material costs, what will happen in the event of any delay, and how the builder will manage post-work clean up – including who’ll pay for a skip if needed. It can be the extra costs which can quickly add up. Ensure that any changes to the original agreement are put in writing by the builder or contractor. Always let them know about any issues you have with their work, giving them a chance to resolve them.
And finally don’t forget to let your home insurer and mortgage provider know of any major changes. For example, if you’ve increased the number of bedrooms or had an extension, this could impact your current insurance policies.
So with these steps, you should get the best out of your builder, and the best out of your home. Good luck!