Deciding to go ahead with a renovation or remodeling project is a big deal and an expensive one too. That’s why choosing the right builder is very important so you don’t make costly mistakes, give yourself a major headache and find yourself living on a construction site for months on end. Here are some handy hints for choosing the right people for your precious property project.
#1 What Kind Of Work Do You Need?
Depending on the area involved and the type of work, you’ll want to focus your attention on builders who specialise in that kind of work. Don’t be tempted to find the cheapest option as that builder might not have the relevant experience you need. One area of expertise, in new builds for example, doesn’t necessarily mean that builder knows how to add extensions. You could well receive an attractively competitive quote but that could mean they don’t have the experience to understand the complexities of the project and what’s involved.
#2 Cheap Isn’t Always Best
Who wouldn’t be drawn to the lowest price and the chance to save money on an expensive project? One quote that’s significantly less than a group of other quotes should ring alarm bells though. You might run into trouble with this builder further into the project if they’ve failed to include materials or labor and indeed made a mistake. You need to know what the cost is from the start, no variations mid-project and confidence that your builder understands what’s involved. Does a cheaper quote also mean shortcuts on quality?
#3 Know Who’s Who
You’ll be dealing with your builder for quite some time so it pays to know exactly who’ll you’ll be dealing with. Communication is key in any project so make sure you know who your primary on-site guy or girl will be. Some companies have different teams for supplying quotes and building work so you might never see your initial contact again for the rest of the project. You’ll want to have a good working relationship with the on-site builder as they will be the one you see on a daily basis.
#4 Confusing Jargon
Make sure you understand everything that appears in your quote to avoid any nasty surprises further down the road. Don’t worry about asking questions, it’s your project and your money. When you see the terms ‘prime cost’ and ‘provisional sums’, know that these are estimates or allowances only and not actual costs. It pays to have a detailed brief for your builder so they know exactly what you’re willing to spend on particular items, otherwise your budget could be blown far too early on in the project.
#5 Previous And Current Clients
Asking a builder to provide references is a little pointless when they’re only going to provide you with the good stuff. To get a real feel for the quality of their work and their trustworthiness, you’ll have to track down some of their current or previous clients to hear about their experiences. Go to visit a previous client’s work and see for yourself. Online reviews are a good way to find customer feedback. Many people choose a builder through word of mouth and if family or friends recommend someone then you know you’re in safe hands.
#6 Be Thorough
Provide a detailed brief in writing so there can be no confusion of what is needed and expected. A contract between you and your builder should detail what work is to be carried out, start dates and completion dates, costs, payment schedules, hours of work, access to amenities on your property, waste disposal and clean-up of site. Payment terms in particular, must be written down, agreed and signed by both parties. Be wary if you’re asked to pay upfront or provide a large cash deposit. Neither of these should be necessary unless you’re looking at a very long project.
#7 Ask About Insurance
Be sure to take a look at your builder’s insurance cover. It’s essential that they have comprehensive insurance to protect themselves against personal injury, property damage and public liability to protect you and anyone else near or on the site. If they cannot supply you with this documentation then alarm bells should be ringing and you’d better find yourself another builder to deal with. Don’t forget to ask about a guarantee for the work, especially if it’s a big job or a new build.