5. Check the Federation of Master Builders
Find a builder on the Federation of Master Builders website. Members are checked and inspected at the point of joining, and can offer you a warranty on your work.
6. Prepare a brief
This is your project so make sure you get exactly what you want. Produce a written brief, including detailed drawings where possible, and give a copy to each builder who quotes.
It’s important to know exactly what you want, your builder is not psychic so the chances of them knowing what you want if you don’t know yourself, are slim to none. Do yourself a favour and nail down the details before engaging a builder. This will prevent difficult conversations later on.
9. Get references
Go and visit some of the builders’ previous jobs. Most reputable traders will be more than happy to show off their previous work and while you’re there you can get a personal reference from a satisfied customer.
10. Ask their previous clients questions about their service
- Did they turn up on time?
- Were they polite?
- Did you have regular meetings with the site manager/boss?
- What were their labourers and trades like?
- Did they clear up after themselves and keep the site tidy?
- Was the project was brought in on budget and on time?
- Were there any extras or hidden costs?
11. Don’t be fooled by the badge
There have been a substantial number of cases of bogus builders fraudulently claiming membership of trade associations, so call and make sure they are a genuine member .
12. Check they are VAT registered.
Avoid a ‘VAT-free’ deal. You will not have a valid contract if there is no proof of payment.
13. Be straight about money
Agree payment terms clearly in writing with your builder.
14. Avoid paying upfront or 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.
15. Get a guarantee
Does the builder offer a guarantee on a large scale job? If it is a new build you will need a guarantee on the property.
Is the builder insured? They should have cover to protect themselves against property damage and personal and public liability to protect you and the general public in the event of an accident or injury. Don’t take their word for it, ask to see the paperwork.