Find the right builder

Need to get a building job done but tired of slow, unreliable and even shoddy builders? Here’s how to make sure you find the right people for that all-important job…

Who do you know?

The secret to finding a reliable tradesman is not what they know but who they know.

Ask your prospective builder for references and names of previous clients that they have done work for.

Give these previous clients a call and ask if the job was satisfactory and most importantly done in a reasonable space of time.

Are they established?

Make sure that the firm or people you are working with are established.

Do they have an office address, telephone number and business cards? Check they are a member of a reputable trade association, and if VAT is being charged, make sure there is a VAT number shown.

Something fishy?

Make sure that you read and understand everything before you sign. Even if you think you sound stupid, ask all relevant questions, and don’t sign anything till you do understand.

Be suspicious of demands for cash payments. Also try not to make any advance payments, especially if you are unsure at the start of the job, as they may just take the money and run.

What I want

Get more than one estimate and make sure you get written specification.

Once you decide to go with the builder, agree on any stage and final payments before the work starts.

Avoid changing your mind halfway through a job as it usually costs more and causes delays.

Most importantly, ask for an insurance-backed warranty for the work.

Article by: Thamar Houliston -