The most important decision you will make when beginning your home improvement project is to look for the right company that will help achieve your vision. Starting with choosing the builder, there are many factors to consider to ensure that the project is completed to a high standard and in the estimated time-frame.
Finding the Right Builder
When looking for a builder you may be tempted ask a friend. This can be a good option as long as you have an agreement about the costs involved, be up front about what you are expecting them to achieve and ask the same from them.
If you are buying a product from a company such as Marston & Langinger, ask them to recommend a professional that they can testify will do a good job. Alternatively, you can ask your friends and family to recommend someone they have used.
Ask the builder for a testimonial. If they have any work being carried out locally you can ask to look around, speak to their client and find out about the experience. This is also a good idea to give you an understanding of what to expect when having workers on site.
Questions to Ask Your Builder
- When can they start? Generally most quality tradesmen are busy up to two months in advance, so they tend to be unable to start immediately. If they can begin the work straight away, question why this is.
- Do they have public liability insurance? If they don’t, then you should consider looking elsewhere. Even the best builders can’t predict everything that could occur – liability insurance provides you and them with piece of mind.
- Ask how many jobs your builder will have on at any one time. If the builder has 3 to 4 projects on the go they may have to leave site for a week or so, extending the completion time. Whereas, if they have 1 or 2 other jobs on the go it might be a simple case of the odd day where they will be away from your site. This can often happen when dependant on material availability and when relying on the weather.
- Ask for an estimated completion time, as the point above explains it can be dependent on the weather and seasonal change.
- Can your builder offer a warranty? It’s not always possibly, and their liability insurance should cover unforeseen circumstances. However, when you do find a good builder they will often fix any problems that occur, for a reasonable period after completion.
What Should a Builder’s Quote Include?
Ensure that you get at least a couple of quotes from different builders to not only compare the cost but to have a comparison of what each builder is including in their quote. Hopefully this will identify where there may be hidden costs or potential extra’s.
- The quote may include a deposit upfront, this tends to be normal for material setup costs. The builder should inform you when they expect the deposit to be paid, it is ideal to pay it on the start date and should be in line with the builders initial up-front costs. You can expect to pay 10 -20% as a deposit, however you must be completely happy that you are dealing with a legitimate contractor and record the payments you make and ask for a receipt for monies paid. Never pay large amounts in cash and but ensure a payment plan is agreed upfront to suit both parties and is in line with materials and labour received.
- Final payments for the job should never be made until after completion. This can be between 10-20% of the total cost for the job depending on the size and needs to be clearly agreed in advance, including a snagging list rectification period.
- The quote should include site clean up after completion.
Remember transparency is critical
A good builder will be fully transparent and happy to answer every questions from the start. They will give you a comprehensive outline of the cost and timeline in a prompt manner. They will be upfront about who will be on-site, any contractors who will be helping work on your project and provide you with confidence and evidence of their abilities.