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Choosing your builder

Image of a hard hatIf you are considering having building work done, you should choose your builder very carefully. This is one of the biggest investments you are likely to make, so you should check your builder out thoroughly before employing them.

Things to consider

  • Do you need preparation of plans only or will you want site supervision as well?
  • If you think your job is too small to need professional advice, ask someone in the industry who you know and trust for advice.
  • Always obtain at least three quotations and have them checked.
  • Don't automatically go for the cheapest quote. Look carefully at what's included and check out the builder's references.

Questions to ask the builder

  • Where have they worked before?
  • Are they happy for you to see some of their previous work?
  • What is their expertise in the particular project you plan to carry out?
  • How do they want to be paid, on completion or in stages?
  • Can they supply references from satisfied customers?
  • Are they happy to accept a retention clause?
  • Will they give you a final completion date?
  • Will they agree to a compensation clause if they fail to complete the work on time?
  • Will they agree to independent arbitration if you have a dispute?

Finally, reassure yourself by checking out the builder's work and references. When you talk to previous clients, don't just ask about the quality of the work. If this is a big job, the builder will be in your house for a long time, so ask questions like: Were they punctual? Did they make a lot of noise? Did they clean up properly when they'd finished? It's best to ask the questions now - don't wait until it's too late!

Professional Advice

Federation of Master Builders

Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

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