Finding a builder can be a daunting process. You have an idea of what you want the finished project to look like, you’ve sorted out your budget and you’ve mentally prepared for the ensuing disruption. Finding a building firm that you can trust to do a good job, within the proposed timeframe, is not always as easy as it sounds. Read our guide to help you find a reliable builder in your area.
Take the time to research the builders in your area
The first thing you should do is ask for recommendations from friends and family. A personal recommendation is one of the best ways of finding a builder as you can objectively discuss things like their workmanship, timekeeping and cleanliness etc. You could even put out a request on social media to see what responses you get. Remember to ask about their workmanship and reliability. From here you will have a list from which to work through.
Another way of sourcing builders is to ask other tradesmen, such as, plumbers and electricians if they would recommend anyone as it’s likely that they’ll have worked with builders before. Add those builders to your list.
Look at boards at building sites. Once you are planning renovation work, you will begin to notice homes around you having work done. Do they have boards outside their homes? Check online for reviews and feedback. Why not knock on the door and see what the homeowner thought of the builders they used.
Do background checks
From this list you can check to see if these builders are on ratedpeople.com or trustatrader.com. If they are, what reviews do they have on there?
Do your builders have recognised qualifications? Do they belong to trade organisations? The more established and reputable builders will take their trade seriously and will belong to the appropriate bodies.
Ask the right questions
Contact those on your shortlist and discuss the details of your project. Ask them questions such as: when they might be available to fit you in; what type of relevant past experience they have; roughly how long the project will take to complete and if they are able to provide any references.
Ask them to meet at your property to talk through your ideas. You’ll be surprised how many may fall off your list at this point.
How to decide which one is the right builder
Transparency and clarity on both sides is paramount, if you want the job to go smoothly. Here is a checklist of things you should find out before committing to any builder.
Do you have a written document scoping out the project?
All good builders will clearly detail what the project entails and what they will be doing as part of the build process. Don’t worry about being picky, it’s important that you make sure that everything is covered as you don’t want misunderstandings later down the road when your budget begins to lessen.
Check that any work undertaken by sub-contractors is covered in the scope of work too, as well as their costs.
Make sure you know where the builder is buying his materials from for the job. Ask for receipts and keep a written record throughout the course of the work.
Agree how payments are to be made, e.g. after certain stages are completed. Make sure that you retain a decent percentage back that should be paid upon completion. Disreputable builders may move on to other jobs towards the end of your project if there is little financial incentive on their behalf. Also check that VAT is included in their quote.
Has your builder completed previous building work to the required standard, on time and within the agreed budget? Ask for references – and make sure that you personally follow them up.
Be clear from the start what their intended working hours are going to be. Good timekeeping once arrangements have been made is also a sign of reliability. Builders should only be paid for the hours worked. You won't want to pay someone who knocks off early and still charges you for a full day's labour.
Make certain the builder is fully, and correctly, insured for the job. You want to be sure that they have the appropriate cover should anything go wrong. Also check with your home insurance that your policy covers you during a building project.
Agree with your builder how long the job will take, to minimise disruption and any chance of spiralling costs.
Make sure from the start that the work your builder undertakes complies with local council regulations. Paying for the services of a Building Control Inspector can give you peace of mind as they check and sign off each stage of the build.
If you would a reliable building firm, look no further than Essex Building and Carpentry Services. Located in Romford, Essex, service clients in and around Havering, Brentwood, Chelmsford and Billericay. Call us today on 01708 578 014 to discuss your building needs.