TIPS FOR SELECTING A BUILDER
You may find a builder using the internet, by seeing an advertisement or by recommendation from family and friends. A builder selected from a recommendation is much better than using a builder that you have no experience with. If someone has recommended a builder to you, ask them about the standards of their work and standard of their service. Is their quality of workmanship good? are they dedicated to the project? do they charge a lot for extras? are they well mannered? etc
We recommend that you find out as much as possible about the builders that you have asked to quote for your building work. Are they a registered company? Are they insured? Do they have a website or facebook page? Are they registered with any professional bodies? How long have they been trading? In addition to using the internet searches, I suggest you also ask around, maybe even speak to building control to see if they know the builder.
A good reference is important. If you ask a builders for 3 recent client references, they should be able to provide them quite easily. The references should be from clients that have completed a similiar project to the one you are about to carry out.
Get a Few Quotes
You should always get a few builders quote, I would say at least 3 and more if you can. When you request for a quote, provide project plans, a comprehensive list of work you want them to do, specification of the work and materials. This information should be provided to all the builders, so that they may be able to provide you a quote that you can easily compare.
If you get a few quotes from builders you will notice that they will be all be detailed differently, some will just state a price and others may have a price breakdown. In order for you to compare you have to prepare a list of items so that you can check what is included and what is not. If a detailed breakdown is not present then the builder needs to confirm that he has included for each item on your list.
If you are having builders working at your house, it is an absolute must to ensure that they are insured against any liability. For example, whilst digging the builder accidently damaged the neighbours property or caused injury to a member of the public who visited your house. How would the builder pay for the damage, if the amount is considerable you may not ever see your builder again. It would not end their as your neighbour would be still after compensation or remedy, with the finger pointing to you.
It is quite common for building work to be agreed for a price with nothing in writing. This method may work for some people, but there is a big risk involved. The question is would we buy a household appliance without a reciept or without a gurantee? So would it be wise to spend say £25,000 with nothing in writing and no terms and conditions?
We advise our clients never to give money upfront, and this should be made clear to your builder before formalising your contract. A payment schedule should be agreed with the builder and money should be paid at stages of the work once completed satisfactorily. Any money given should also be given formally, via a cheque or payment transfer, if cash is given it should be documented and signed for.
If you would like assistance in selecting a builder, obtaining quotes, evaluating quotations, or preparing a building contract, please contact us for an informal discussion.