Five questions to ask your builder

As homeowners add ever-larger extensions onto their properties, here are five key questions to ask your builder from Proskips.

Britain’s suburban landscape is changing. While its rows of period properties remain, the tree-lined roads they sit in surrounded by telegraph poles, parked cars and neat front gardens are being joined by a growing number of builders’ skips and scaffolding poles.

There’s a very good reason why Britain’s tradesmen and women have become an integral part of the suburban street scene. The rising value of property in many parts of the UK, and in particular London and the south-east of England, is making extending the family home a more cost-effective option than moving house.

The remodelling of family homes to provide extra living space can take many forms, from loft conversions to single-storey rear extensions or even underground basements.

But whether you are converting an unused garage or creating a new family kitchen, every homeowner investing in their property wants to be assured the building work will deliver value for money.

Before the first skip is ordered, it is best to ask a number of key questions of your builder to ensure they are not one of the few rogue traders who give the whole construction industry a bad name.

In fact, the majority of disputes between builders and homeowners revolve around the project’s costs and the standard of work.

Before you contact a construction firm, go online to get a rough estimate of the cost of the project you want to embark on. By having an idea of the costs involved, your levels of expectation of the finished project can be better matched.

But beware. Like wrist watches, home renovation projects carry a wide range of price tags. Just as your expectation levels of an unbranded watch costing £5 from an online auction site will be less than a £48,000 Rolex Day-Date model purchased from a high-end retailer, the same is true of residential building work.

Once you have an idea of the type of work you want done – and the standard of finish – it is now time to research construction firms. To confirm you have found the right tradesman to get the work done, consider asking the following questions.

1 Have you carried out similar projects before? Many construction firms and individual tradesmen specialise in particular types of work, so you need to be sure they are confident and experienced to deal with your specific project.

2 Ask for references or to view their previous work. Once you have established they have relevant experience, the next thing is to ask to see some references or check out their previous work and talk to their previous customers.

Although you may feel this is intrusive, all construction firms or tradesmen should be willing to provide references or put you in touch with their previous customers. And remember, it is also possible to check online testimonials and reviews of the firm you have chosen before you make contact with it.

3 Can you provide a written estimate for the work? By getting a written estimate for your building project, you will have a good idea of the total cost. However, please beware that this is not a fixed price because additional, unforeseen costs could well crop up during the building work.

4 What deposit do you require? Once you are satisfied with the estimated cost of the work, the next step towards hiring the construction firm or tradesman is to pay a deposit for the work upfront. This is often needed to cover the cost of materials or hiring additional labour, but should not be more than 20-25% of the original estimate.

5 When can you start? Britain’s builders are in demand, so it is important that you confirm when your project can get underway.

Tagged As: ,

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply