How To Hire A Great Builder
Hiring a builder can be a minefield but armed with the right information, you can make an informed decision that will ensure the builder you choose will do a great job and at a price you can afford.
Things to look out for
Find builders in your area by checking out trade federations. For example; the Federation of Master Builders. Always make sure the builder you select belongs to a trading federation or professional association, as this can provide protection if things go awry.
Always get references before you choose a builder, ask around your friends and/or family if they have any recommendations and if possible, ask to see an example of a prospective builder’s work and get feedback from previous clients. Word of mouth is one of the most reliable ways to find a builder that’s suitable for you.
You should have a shortlist of at least 3 builders that you are interested in taking on your work. Get 3 quotes minimum. Don’t be swayed by a builder that offers a low price; if a quote seems too good to be true, it probably is. And it is likely that the builder is cutting corners.
Make sure you have all of the builder’s contact information. This should include their phone number, a mobile phone number, email address and home address. If your builder is reluctant to give you any of these, be wary.
Know What You Want
It’s good to have an accurate idea of what work you require, If your project involves a new roof, then consider the inclusion of velux windows to allow plenty of natural light into the new structure. A local roofing supplies company could advise what is best for your project.
Insurances And Permissions
Does the builder have public liability insurance? Ask to see their public liability insurance certificate and confer with your insurance company as some building work can have an impact on your home and contents insurance.
Depending on the nature of the building work e.g. architectural work, you may need planning permission and building regulation approval. This needs to be applied for at least 8 weeks before any work is undertaken. Make sure you have drawn up plans and sketches before you approach a builder – you need to ensure the builder you select is fully qualified to undertake the job in hand.
When you’ve chosen a builder, discuss payment options before any work begins. Most builders will want payment in stages; make sure you discuss price and method of payments well in advance of any building work. This can stop any confusion and embarrassment down the line. It’s worth remembering if the builder is VAT registered. If the quote contains VAT it will have an impact on the overall invoice.
A builder who only wants to deal in cash in hand and refuses to supply an invoice or bill should set off alarm bells. If something was to go wrong, without proof of the work and payment, some unscrupulous builders could do a shoddy job for a lot of money and refuse to accept liability and without proof, you will lose your money.
Builders must be guaranteed, preferably insurance backed, in case your builder suddenly ceases trading.
Make sure everything from quotes to payment to completion dates to final invoices is all in writing.
This is a guest post from Amy Fowler for Ashbrook Roofing, specialists in roofing supplies including Velux windows. Click here to read more from Ashbrook Roofing.