Tips for choosing a builder
When looking to employ a company to carry out your building work, we want to safeguard you. You want a builder who will do a quality job at a sensible price. After all, you will enjoy the quality of your building work long after you have forgotten how much it cost. We want you to get good value for money, so we have prepared a simple checklist for you to follow:
- Start your search for a good builder - by getting a referral from family or friends who have recently had some work done
- Do not be fooled by the badge! - there have been cases of bogus builders fraudulently claiming membership to official trade associations, so call and make sure they are a bona fide member
- Ask each builder you have selected to provide at least two or three references - then check them. Contact the people who provided the references and find out how happy they were with the quality of the workmanship and the builder's conduct
- Once you have a shortlist of builders, obtain quotations - get full details in writing of what is covered and what is not. Ask for confirmation as to whether planning permission is required and if they will need to apply for Building Regulations approval
- Avoid a 'VAT-free' deal - you will not have a valid contract if there is no proof of payment
- Put details of the job down in writing - the more thorough, the better. Your contract should outline what work is to be done, start/completion dates, security/safety, catering and lavatory arrangements, disposal of waste materials and hours of work. The NFB recommends that consumers use a Homeowners Contract when instructing a builder to commence work. Further information on these can be found by visiting www.cip-books.com
- Be straight about money - with your builder and agree payment terms clearly in writing
- Avoid paying a cash deposit - it should not be needed unless you request specialist building materials or the job is likely to take a long time to complete
- Ask if the builder is insured - against claims covering property damage and personal liability in the case of accident or injury.
- Communicate - it is very important to be clear and open with your builder. If you see a problem flag it up straight away rather than hoping for the best. That way both you and your builder can avoid any costly mistakes.
A good builder will belong to a Trade Association, undergo continuous training, have public liability insurance, be happy to give you an estimate in writing and will not ask for unusual payment methods.