With the rising number of people being scammed by fraudulent builders, work being left uncompleted and the costs continuing to rise, it’s no wonder people struggle when trying to choose building contractors. With all the horror stories that dominate our news feeds, finding the perfect builder that won’t leave you in the dark can be a daunting task, especially if you have never had to deal with one before. Fortunately, there are many ways we can do our own research that can tell us if builders are legit. You want a residential builder in your area with a good reputation, but finding the best builder is not always down to luck.. There are small things we can to do be extra vigilant when looking for a builder, after all, it’s not cheap.
Do your research
It’s easy to stick with the builder who’s the most convenient, the cheapest or even who can do the job the quickest. As nice as it would be get the work done quickly, you want to be sure they are the right builder for you. Ask your friends, family and neighbours for recommendations, this way you can speak with someone first hand about their experience and see the quality of the work for yourself. You can also find out how the building contractors worked, their attitude, punctuation, mess, etc. – all the things that will not be on their website. A lot of building contractors rely on word of mouth for business. If a builder is well known and is highly reputable, you are more likely to trust them.
As well as asking around, take a look on google. We have everything at our fingertips with the internet, so look at the company’s history, read customer reviews and look at online portfolios. A little research goes a long way.
Make sure you know what you want. If it is specialist work, then be sure the building contractors are an expert in the field.
Obtain at least three quotes
It can be hard to resist the first builder that comes along, especially if you are on a tight schedule. However, obtaining at least three quotes is recommended to give you a chance to compare them and ensure you are getting the most competitive prices. When you initially speak with the builder, make sure you know what you want and provide accurate drawings and measurements. This saves for any confusion in the future and ensures all costs are included. When you receive your quotes, read through them thoroughly, you don’t want to receive a separate bill with surprise costs. Check for subcontractors, time, materials, labour, VAT, etc. Make sure you understand what is included in the quote and ask any questions before you agree. Ensure you receive everything in writing.
Only have a small budget?
The cheapest residential builder may be more appealing, but remember you get what you pay for. Some builders may have a significantly lower price than the others – make sure you find out why. You don’t want building contractors who bid at lower prices for the work, because then you risk lower quality work, potential problems, surprise costs and builders who cut corners to ensure they earn a profit. If you have a small budget, it’s not always best to go for the cheapest builder. It may seem cheap upfront, but you are more likely to run into problems in the future, therefore costing you more in the long run.
The builders themselves
During the quoting process, keep an eye on how they speak to you. What’s their attitude towards the work? How prompt are they with answering your questions? How quickly do they return your calls? Establishing a good relationship with the building contractors from the start will help in the smooth running of the work. Communication is key.
A good residential builder should be happy to share timelines, costs, products, tools and anything else you wish to know about the work, or previous work. Never be afraid to ask them questions – at the end of the day, it’s your property and your money. Make sure you understand the process and anything that may affect the work.
Never pay everything up front or in cash. Sometimes deposits may be required as the work may need specialist materials or equipment in order to start, or the job may run longer than usual. This is normal for a builder to request a deposit under these circumstances, just be sure to check the details of the quote so there are no surprises.
Is the builder insured?
Public Liability Insurance is a must. Building can be dangerous work and not all accidents can be prevented. This insurance protects you against common construction accidents and covers any damage to a third party, as well as any accidental damage to someone else’s property. It’s not a silly question to ask if your builder has insurance, or to even see the paperwork. It’s actually a very common question when looking for the right builder.
What if a problem arises?
According to the Consumer Protection Association, it is a legal requirement for an independent contractor to offer an Insurance Backed Guarantee. This guarantee protects you if any faults were to arise, as well as covering you if your particular building company goes bust. Again, it is standard practice when hiring a builder for a large job to ask for proof of this insurance. You’ve got to remember that you are putting a lot of money into your project, so you want to ensure you are covered at all angles and getting the best for your money.
There are many different aspects to consider when it comes to choosing the right building contractors for your project, being extra vigilant and conducting your own checks is definitely worth the extra time. Not all builders are bad – just unfortunately the minority has given the industry a bad name. Make sure you get recommendations from friends and families if the builders have done similar jobs, triple check your quotes and make sure you understand them and check the building contractors are insured. Then sit back, relax and let them do all the hard work. It won’t be easy watching them spend your money, but it will be worth it in the end.
Have you got another top tip to finding a good builder?