You’ve got a home improvement project in mind and the funds to pay for it. All you need now is a reliable tradesman to help make your dreams a reality. But choosing a builder to carry out major reconstruction work on your home isn’t always as straightforward as you might think.
Your house, after all, represents the biggest investment of your life and you’re not going to let just anybody start working on it. Plus, horror stories about cowboy builders who leave halfway through a job or cause major issues are plentiful
So how do you ensure the builder you’re considering using is reputable, reliable, professional and knows what they’re doing?
To help you make the right decision, we’ve compiled this shortlist of tips for choosing a builder:
1. Get personal recommendations
As is usually the case when you are looking to employ someone’s services, personal recommendations are worth their weight in gold. Whether it’s a word of mouth referral from a friend or family member, or a bunch of great reviews on the builder’s website/social media page, reviews and recommendations should always be the first things you focus on when you’re looking for a builder.
Likewise, any negative reviews and less than positive feedback should also be reasonably considered. For example, if a builder has a bunch of great reviews from previous clients and a couple that are less than favourable, consider why. You can even ask the builder to elaborate on the unfavourable reviews.
The bottom line is one or two bad reviews shouldn’t make you rule out partnering with a particular builder – that is unless they only have a few reviews, all of which are bad.
2. Check out the builder’s past work
The next thing to do is have a look at some of the builder’s handiwork by inspecting some of their previous projects. This is easy if said builder has been recommended to you by a friend or family member who has had work completed by them. In fact, most builders will have some previous clients who are willing to let you see work they’ve had done.
It’s a really good idea at this stage to inspect work that is similar to what you want done. That’s because while the builder may be good at a particular aspect of building, they may have little experience in others. You can also use it as an opportunity to ask a few more questions to help form your own opinion.
3. Ask about their insurance
You are absolutely within your rights to ask to see a builder’s insurance policies. As a minimum, a builder should have public liability insurance, which is designed to protect them and you if anyone’s hurt or something gets damaged during the course of the work.
Also, it’s important to check that any insurance they do hold is 100% valid i.e. hasn’t expired and lists the builder specifically on the policy.
4. Consider a JCT contract
In a nutshell, Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) contracts set out the responsibilities of each party involved in a building project. They make it clear what needs to be done, who needs to do it, when they will do it and what the cost will be.
Under a JCT contract, you as the homeowner are listed as the employer, while your builder is listed as the contractor.
JCTs allocate risk in a fair and rational way, meaning you and your builder both stand to benefit from using one. They also help a project get underway faster.
You can find out more about the Joint Contracts Tribunal by visiting the following link: https://www.jctltd.co.uk/
5. Go with your gut
At the end of the day, you have to go with your gut feeling when you’re considering using a builder for your home improvement project. While great reviews are awesome (and they are), and seeing some previous work is great, you are the only person who ultimately knows whether you feel comfortable partnering with this particular building professional.
If you don’t feel comfortable – for whatever reason – keep looking. There are lots of awesome builders out there and you should never go with one whom you feel uncomfortable with.
Are you planning on adding rooflights or roof lanterns to your home? If you are, call Roof Maker on 0116 269 6297. Our rooflight experts will help you to choose the right solution for your needs. Alternatively, visit our showroom or get a quote online.