Top 10 Tips for Finding a Good Builder

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The festive season is here which means it’s time to relax, over indulge, drink and be merry.  Those extra hours at home can be great even if you have to spend most of it hosting relatives that can be a little hard work.  Is the mum in-law and her loud snoring keeping you up at night? Why does Uncle Terry smell of brandy and brussels sprouts all year round? Being at home and not stuck at work can also make you take a longer look at your house and remind you of those home improvements you didn’t get around to doing this year.  The New Year might be the time to start thinking about that extension you always wanted, modernising the kitchen or redoing the bathroom. We will get the inevitable top 10 films or top 10 albums of the year so here are our top 10 tips for finding a decent builder.

  1. Neighbours, Family & Friends: Your friends and family are a great source of names for reliable builders and they are more likely to share your expectations and standards. Neighbours will also know good builders in your local area. However, the work might look good but it might not be properly done so it’s still worth checking out the company with the rest of these tips.
  2. Your architect or designer: Any decent designer should have a long list of building contacts that have helped bring their creations to fruition. They will know your local building scene and can recommend which builders to work with and which ones to avoid.
  3. Other Tradesman: Andy the plumber might have done some work with Danny the electrician, who might have done a few jobs for Bob & Becky’s building services. Local tradesmen can help you tap into the building community in your area and you’ll quickly be able to find out who demands respect instead of having to demand your money back after a botched job.
  4. Avoid low prices: Unfortunately builders don’t do ‘January Sales’ but whilst a high price is not necessarily a sign of quality in a building company it’s important to consider all the factors and resist the temptations of a low price. If one of the quotes you receive for your work is considerably lower than the others you need to be suspicious. It might just be that the other quotes are excessively high and the one company is simply good value, but more likely that the one firm is putting in a speculative bid to try and win the work and aims to make more profit on the project with hidden charges or by cutting corners. Worst case scenario, they might start the works and find there is no profit to be made from it and pack up their tools and walk away.
  5. Talk to building inspectors: They can offer informal advice to help you make the right decision on the builders to best suit your project.  After all they are tasked with ensuring that new buildings in their area get built to the best possible standard.
  6. Past Customers: You read reviews for hotels; restaurants and almost anything you buy from Amazon so why not do it for builders. Trade websites and social media can provide a wealth of useful information. But if you can speak to someone in person find out how happy they were with the price, the quality of the workmanship and the builders conduct.  Photos of completed jobs and a couple of good references can provide peace of mind.
  7. Company signs on active sights: A sign informing people who are completing the job shows confidence and professionalism. This is also a good way to find decent builders currently working in your area as they are taking responsibility for the work being completed in good time and to a high standard.
  8. Words in writing: Taking someone’s word for it can be a bit unsettling when you don’t really know them. Get the details of the quote and the job written down in full with what is covered and what isn’t. This should include materials, site maintenance, clearance and a payment plan. Avoid paying up front or a cash deposit. Be straight about money with your builder and agree payment terms clearly in writing to avoid any hidden costs or future financial headaches.
  9. False membership claims: They might look good on paper but that’s not going to help if your extension looks bad in real life. It’s against the law to falsely claim affiliations, including those to trade associations. So if they look suspicious call and find out if they are a legitimate member.
  10. Insured Builder: Every respectable building firm should have insurance to protect them against property damage and personal and public liability to protect you and the general public in the event of accident or injury.                                                                                                                                                                Download these tips here: Top 10 tips for finding a good builder

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