Choosing a builder

Hi all,

I am having an extension done next year and I am struggling with how to decide on a builder.  I have got a little booklet of questions that I am asking and writing down the answers because I don't want to get confused between them.  Does include things like payment terms, can I view previous work, etc.  

Also I am having a new kitchen fitted, utility and shower room.  Plus painting and decorating, etc - is it worth having different contractors in for these?

Thanks for your thoughts.


I am a Protection Adviser. You should note that this site doesn't check my status as a Protection Adviser, so you need to take my word for it. This signature is here as I follow MSE's Mortgage Adviser Code of Conduct. Any posts on here are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as financial advice. Please do not send PMs asking for one-to-one-advice, or representation.

Comments

  • MikeJXE
    MikeJXE Posts: 3,013
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    Your best answers will come from your neighbours who have had similar done 
  • Albermarle
    Albermarle Posts: 20,996
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    Hi all,

    I am having an extension done next year and I am struggling with how to decide on a builder.  I have got a little booklet of questions that I am asking and writing down the answers because I don't want to get confused between them.  Does include things like payment terms, can I view previous work, etc.  

    Also I am having a new kitchen fitted, utility and shower room.  Plus painting and decorating, etc - is it worth having different contractors in for these?

    Thanks for your thoughts.


    Just be careful not to overdo the questions/requests, as builders are normally quite busy and if they see you as a potentially awkward customer they might decide to move on. On the other hand you do need some firm info/agreements, so a fine line.
  • vacheron
    vacheron Posts: 1,590
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    Absolutely go by word of mouth if you can. Find a neighbour or someone local who has had similar work done recently and ask who they used, what their experience was like etc. Most people are happy to discuss matters, especially if you are complementary about their project.  :)
    • The rich buy assets.
    • The poor only have expenses.
    • The middle class buy liabilities they think are assets.
    Robert T. Kiyosaki
  • gzoom
    gzoom Posts: 516
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    I am having an extension done next year and I am struggling with how to decide on a builder.  I have got a little booklet of questions that I am asking and writing down the answers because I don't want to get confused between them.  .

    This shows different we all are, we haven't even got a contract with the builders doing our work, and my list of questions are usually done the day before decisions have to be made :smile:

    Trust I would say is by far the most important bit, things will go wrong, delays will occur, costs will escalate. If you don't trust the builder no amount of paper work will make you feel at ease. 

    As others have said talk to people who have had building work done locally, and go from there. A good builder should be in high demand, so they are likely already starting to book work into 2025.
  • Albermarle
    Albermarle Posts: 20,996
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    Personally I would prefer a written contract. There are simple standard ones available for this purpose.
    However some degree of flexibility and trust on both sides during the work will almost certainly be needed.

    AIUI though some builders will not be happy with an official contract .
  • ArbitraryRandom
    ArbitraryRandom Posts: 2,325
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    I think I'm a middle ground - specs and quote have to be in writing for me (email) so everyone knows what's agreed and in case of problems down the line, and I always email a screenshot showing the agreed payments when made. 

    I leave them be when they're working (other than offering a coffee every hour or so when I'm making one) and at the end of the day when they're gone I go out to have a look. If there's any problems or questions I email them over that evening and the builder generally responds later the same day or just sorts it next day. Last day we both have a walk about and shake hands on it being good. 

    For the OP, best way to find a builder for me was to ask them to do a relatively small job that can be done in a day/weekend (I needed a bit of path widening) and see how they do (final price, quality of work, timekeeping, how tidy they leave it). As above, you want to come across as a good customer as well - be as flexible as you can, don't keep changing your mind or asking their opinion (they don't have one!), and pay promptly when the job is done. 
    I'm not an early bird or a night owl; I’m some form of permanently exhausted pigeon.
  • fullofcold
    fullofcold Posts: 143
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    I think I'm a middle ground - specs and quote have to be in writing for me (email) so everyone knows what's agreed and in case of problems down the line, and I always email a screenshot showing the agreed payments when made. 

    I leave them be when they're working (other than offering a coffee every hour or so when I'm making one) and at the end of the day when they're gone I go out to have a look. If there's any problems or questions I email them over that evening and the builder generally responds later the same day or just sorts it next day. Last day we both have a walk about and shake hands on it being good. 

    For the OP, best way to find a builder for me was to ask them to do a relatively small job that can be done in a day/weekend (I needed a bit of path widening) and see how they do (final price, quality of work, timekeeping, how tidy they leave it). As above, you want to come across as a good customer as well - be as flexible as you can, don't keep changing your mind or asking their opinion (they don't have one!), and pay promptly when the job is done. 
    Trouble is I don't have any little bits left to do in the house and the gent that I had do them was brilliant but doesn't do extensions.

    Have always paid promptly as I don't like owing anybody anything.

    We're very set on what we want doing , and now that it's been in to building control and come out again I don't feel any need to amend it.  

    Thank you for your guidance.
    I am a Protection Adviser. You should note that this site doesn't check my status as a Protection Adviser, so you need to take my word for it. This signature is here as I follow MSE's Mortgage Adviser Code of Conduct. Any posts on here are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as financial advice. Please do not send PMs asking for one-to-one-advice, or representation.
  • badger09
    badger09 Posts: 11,054
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    I think I'm a middle ground - specs and quote have to be in writing for me (email) so everyone knows what's agreed and in case of problems down the line, and I always email a screenshot showing the agreed payments when made. 

    I leave them be when they're working (other than offering a coffee every hour or so when I'm making one) and at the end of the day when they're gone I go out to have a look. If there's any problems or questions I email them over that evening and the builder generally responds later the same day or just sorts it next day. Last day we both have a walk about and shake hands on it being good. 

    For the OP, best way to find a builder for me was to ask them to do a relatively small job that can be done in a day/weekend (I needed a bit of path widening) and see how they do (final price, quality of work, timekeeping, how tidy they leave it). As above, you want to come across as a good customer as well - be as flexible as you can, don't keep changing your mind or asking their opinion (they don't have one!), and pay promptly when the job is done. 
    Trouble is I don't have any little bits left to do in the house and the gent that I had do them was brilliant but doesn't do extensions.

    Have always paid promptly as I don't like owing anybody anything.

    We're very set on what we want doing , and now that it's been in to building control and come out again I don't feel any need to amend it.  

    Thank you for your guidance.
    If your trusted ‘brilliant gent’ doesn’t do extensions, as him if he can recommend someone who does. 
    My experience after moving to a new location 3 years ago is that if our first trusted tradesman couldn’t do the work we wanted, he always knew someone who could. They were either family or people he worked with & none has let us down. 
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