5 questions to ask your builder

Whether your next job is to extend a single room or remodel the full home, finding a reliable builder is essential. Before you do, it’s a good idea to ask lots of questions.

Almost half of homeowners who have undergone a major renovation have said they found the procedure frustrating. Since you are spending your hard earned money, you need to ensure you have thoroughly vetted your builder. This ways you can be more confident that you’re hiring the right tradesperson for the job. Here are 5 questions to ask your builder.

1. What other projects like mine have you worked on?

Asking your builder how many similar types of project they have completed can help you determine if they have the necessary skill set required. Choose a loft conversion professional if you want to convert your attic. Or a builder who specialises in new builds if you want to build from scratch. Make sure the builder has the necessary expertise and is not using your project as a learning opportunity. Ask for them to organise a site visit to see examples of previous projects like yours they have worked on. You should also ask for references from previous customers.

2. What is the anticipated timeframe for the build?

If they haven’t finished a project similar to yours before and they tell you an extremely precise timeframe, this might be a red flag. Beware of builders who may overpromise and underdeliver. Although unexpected delays can occur, a good builder should be able to give you an estimated timeframe of how long it should take to complete. You can ask a builder to provide a building schedule which can help when agreeing stage payments.

3. Are you a member of any trade associations?

Doing your research and ensuring you’re working with an approved builder is crucial. Finding a builder through a trade association like the Association of Master Tradesmen will ensure you are getting a builder that has been vetted and follow a code of conduct.

4. Will you provide a fixed quote in writing?

Make sure you ask for a fixed quote and not an estimate. Estimations are fine in the initial stages of planning, but ensure you have a fixed quote and a breakdown of costs before you sign a contract and work begins. Make sure your fixed quotation covers all of the work needed and specific details such as materials, site clearance and time scales are included. It’s always good to draw up a signed contract before any work begins.

5. Do you have insurance and offer warranties?

A professional builder should have up to date Public Liability Insurance, be able to offer warranties and have established protocols in place should anything go wrong. You should always ask how long the chosen builder has been in trading and what cover they have in case of insolvency.

It’s a good idea to meet the builder in person to ask all these questions. Finding a builder who spends time getting to know you will help ensure you are choosing the right builder and prevent any unwanted surprises during the build. If you need a vetted builder, the Association of Master Tradesmen can fulfil all your needs. Call us on 0208 817 5246 or visit www.mastertradesmen.co.uk.

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