Anybody can set up as a builder, but this freedom comes with huge pitfalls. How do you know if your best quote was given by a seasoned expert rather than an ex-window cleaner?
First, make sure to select a builder that has been recommended to you by a colleague or friend. If they’re a real friend, they’ll point you in the direction of a top builder! Knowing that other people have been satisfied with their work is far more valuable than a few hundred pounds off the price.
If you don’t know anybody who’s had any building work done recently, check out some impartial websites for advice. People will only go out of their way to list their builder on a site like this if they were genuinely delighted with all aspects of the job. This includes the quality of the craftsmanship but also the ability to deliver on time and on budget.
Some more specialised jobs will require builders trained in specific trades. In this instance, be very clear about what you want from the outset. Communication is key. Equally important is having a contract with your builder. Make sure it is clear what their (and your) legal obligations are. Things to include in your contract are:
• Timescale for the build
• Budget for the project
• How much the builder gets paid
You can even buy a generic building contract and fill in the blanks. Even better, visit the MastersBuilders Association website to download a free contract. It can also be useful to include a contingency clause of 10-15% in case anything goes horribly wrong, but the best way to prevent this is to be in constant dialogue with the project manager and their team throughout the duration of the build.