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CHOOSING A BUILDER

You should check relevant building regulations and draw up a clear work specification. What you do at this stage will depend on the specifics of your job as large works may require plans. Check with your district council planning office whether planning permission is required.

As well as detailing the work to be carried out a work specification should also explain what you will require the builder to be responsible for e.g. clearing the site after work, removing rubbish etc. Your work specification should also include an outline of your budget and timescales.

CHECK CREDENTIALS

You should obtain at least 3 written quotes from builders. You should ask each builder to provide at least 2 references. You should be able to contact their clients to confirm that the references are genuine. Most good builders should be able to arrange a visit to recently completed jobs, so you can inspect the quality of their work and speak directly to the properties owners. 

If your builder claims to be a member of any professional associations, such as the National Builders Association, you should ring the organisations to verify their membership. 

You should ask your builder to provide proof of up to date public liability insurance. 

TRY NOT TO BASE YOUR DECISIONS PURELY ON PRICE

Although getting a competitive deal is important choosing the cheapest quote is not always the most cost effective option. Substandard work at a discount rate can end up costing you more in the long run in maintenance and repair bills. Make sure you are getting a good deal, but choose the builder you feel most confident about. 

GET FIXED QUOTES NOT ESTIMATIONS

Initial estimations from builders are a good way to help you plan your job, but always get a fixed quotation before you sign a contract and allow the work to start. Make sure your fixed quotation covers all of the work outlined in the work specification and specific details such as materials, site clearance, time scales etc.

Make sure you are fully aware of what is and what’s not included in your quote. 

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