Where do I find a good builder?
Having decided to get the builders in for that long awaited extension or loft conversion, no doubt there’ll be a few questions you’ll need to ask like “where do I find a good builder”.
And “How much will he charge”? In the majority of cases, providing you use a reputable builder who has quoted the work correctly in the first place, the project should run smoothly, but disputes can still arise, so ensuring the stall has been set up correctly from the outset is essential to avoid unnecessary expense and stress especially if you fall out with your builder.
As Building Contractors and Project Managers, we know only too well what can happen when that relationship goes sour as we are often called in to pick up projects or right the wrongs when things have gone awry.
Often it’s simply a clash of personalities and a lack of understanding between a customer’s expectations and the builders’ need to complete the project as efficiently as possible but at the same time, providing good customer satisfaction.
Where do I find a good builder?
If you have never used a builder before, it can be a daunting process so a personal recommendation is a good start. However, it’s not advisable to rely solely on say your friend’s recommendation without checking that builder out for yourself. Doing your own due diligence such as asking around, checking accreditations, insurances or even a Google search will help you make an informed decision. If you have an architect, they can often recommend builders but it’s important that never base your decision on price alone as it could work out more expensive in the long run.
Quotations & Estimates – is there a difference?
For many small building projects like replacing a door, quotes can be prepared very easily, for example, “To supply and fit a new 6 panel raised grain internal door with hinges, latch and handle – cost e.g. £130.00 plus VAT”, The price is fixed and will include the materials, the time it will take for the carpenter to collect the materials, drive to your home, replace the door, tidy up afterward and get to the next job. They are simple to price and the variance in cost between different tradesmen will be marginal as the rates in your area will all be comparable within a few pounds either way assuming of course your quote has been provided by a legitimate source.
With larger projects, the costs are far harder to predict because of the unforeseen work which can only be determined after the builder has started. The cost of foundations and drainage for example are notoriously difficult to predict. So the work will either be priced on an estimated basis with lots of caveats attached to it which means the costs could go up, or, the quote may appear high, because the builder has more than likely factored that into his quotation which a less reputable builder hasn’t, in the knowledge that once he’s got the job, he’ll be able to add it in later on.
Even if you have clearly specified a quote, it’s imperative that you check the quotes in detail and do an accurate comparison to ensure every builder has quoted for the same items. Challenge your builder if it’s not clear and most importantly, ALWAYSget everything in writing and NEVER rely on verbal pricing.
Terms and Conditions
A good reputable builder should provide you with terms and conditions before he starts work. A signed contact isn’t essential but terms and conditions will at least spell out some of the most important obligations imposed on both parties and it’s important to read and understand them.
Nothing is guaranteed but accreditations such as the Federation of Master Builders and Trademark will give you some assurance that your builders work has been checked before.
Qualifications for Gas and Electrical contractors
Many builders will use subcontracted electricians, plumbers and heating engineers – it’s more cost effective to use them on a job by job basis rather than employing these trades directly. With us, every subcontractor we use must provide a copy of their public liability insurance and relevant qualifications before we let them anywhere near a customer’s home.
We hope that has made a few things clearer for you and want you to feel confident if you are choosing us for your project, however big or small.