If you’re having work done on your house, getting builders in can be very stressful. You are investing a lot of money into something that could be risky, and you are putting your trust into people you may not have ever met.
To avoid difficulties and to make sure everything goes to plan, there are several things to think about. Here’s what you should be looking for:
Image by Roger Reuver
Before You Start
Your local authority planning department should be your first stop, to make sure you have the right planning permission. There is some good advice on building regulations on the official government website. It is vital that you have both, or you could end up in hot water.
How To Get The Best Quote
The best quote isn’t the cheapest one – it’s the most accurate one. Never expect that the figures quoted will be the ones you eventually pay. Building work often goes over budget, and you should plan accordingly.
A good way of making sure you get an accurate quote is to be as specific as possible with your needs. Include everything you want done, draw some pictures of your ideas, or even print off some pictures from the web. The more accurate you are with your requirements, the better quality of quote you will get.
Find out how long the company has been trading for and ask to see examples of their work. A good, reputable builder will see this as a normal part of the process, so don’t be shy. If there is any resistance or lack of effort to get you what you need, you should run a mile!
Ask for qualifications to ensure they are capable of doing the work. Contacting the relevant trade association can help a great deal, as they will let you know exactly what to look at. The builders will also need to be registered to the relevant authority to make sure the building regulations are met, and will need proper insurance.
Quality Of Service
Every builder has a different level of service, and the best will take pride in what they do. It will come through when you are talking to referees. Listen out for their thoughts on how quickly the firm finished the work, how well it was done, and how close the final payment was to the original quote.
Another thing to think about is bathroom facilities. Genuine building firms will organize construction site toilets for the tradesmen to use. The law states that they have to provide toilets and washing facilities for workers – and this is particularly relevant if you are ripping out a bathroom! Put simply, if you have a long term project on the go and these facilities aren’t provided, the building firm could be breaking the law.
Another thing to think about is the type of work you are having done. If it’s an extension, for example, you should start looking for building firms that have the necessary skills. Renovation or restoration projects might require more specialist work.
Hopefully you will have a better understanding of what you need to do before hiring a builder. Follow these steps, and you should be in a much better position to get the very best service. Good luck!