Choosing your builder

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If you are considering having building work done, you should choose your builder very carefully. This is one of the biggest investments you are likely to make, so you should check your builder out thoroughly before employing them.

This will apply especially for large projects.

Useful Addresses and Contact Numbers

Federation of Master Builders
72 King Street
Southport
Merseyside
Tel: 01704530201 / 01704537078
Fax: 01704532945

National Consumer Council
5th Floor
Longcross Court
47 Newport Road
Cardiff, CF24 0WL
Tel: 02920255454
Fax: 02920255464

Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
12 Parliament Square
London, SW1 3AD
Tel: 0207 222 7000
Fax: 0207 222 9430

  • Do you need preparation of plans only or will you want site supervision as well?
  • If you think your job is too small to need professional advice, ask someone in the industry who you know and trust for advice.
  • Always obtain at least three quotations and have them checked.
  • Don't automatically go for the cheapest quote. Look carefully at what’s included and check out the builder’s references.
  • Where have they worked before?
  • Are they happy for you to see some of their previous work?
  • What is their expertise in the particular project you plan to carry out?
  • How do they want to be paid, on completion or in stages?
  • Can they supply references from satisfied customers?
  • Are they happy to accept a retention clause?
  • Will they give you a final completion date?
  • Will they agree to a compensation clause if they fail to complete the work on time?
  • Will they agree to independent arbitration if you have a dispute?

Finally, reassure yourself by checking out the builder's work and references. When you talk to previous clients, don’t just ask about the quality of the work. If this is a big job, the builder will be in your house for a long time, so ask questions like: Were they punctual? Did they make a lot of noise? Did they clean up properly when they’d finished? It’s best to ask the questions now – don't wait until it's too late!

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