Finding a Builder

One of the most frequent questions we’re asked is “Which builder do you recommend?” and the answer is none. That’s not to say we don’t know some very good ones, we’ve also come a cross a few real cowboys, but unless we’re actually running the project we’re not prepared to risk our reputation because the builder doesn’t meet expectations.

Instead we will help you to understand how to find a builder you’re comfortable working with and that you feel can deliver the project of your dreams. Our service in this area builds on our Plan Drawing service and includes:

  • Preparing Materials specification
  • Drawing up Building works detail

One thing we always recommend is to meet at least two previous clients of any builder you’re thinking of using to get their honest insight and see the quality of their work. Never rely just on sites like Check-a-trade or someone who knows someone who could do the job!

Estimate or Quote?

Most builders will try and get away with giving you an estimate for a build.

This may appear cheaper, but it is important to remember that an estimate gives them the flexibility to increase the costs if they encounter an unexpected glitch, or things change from the specification, or just take longer than expected.

A Quote by contrast means that the builder agrees to deliver the job for a fixed price.

However, even there you have to be wary of ‘PC Sums’. These are provisional costs and can hide a wealth of hidden costs, such as electrics, sanitary ware, joinery and plumbing.

All in one or individual trades?

Most smaller builders will do one part of the job themselves, such as carpentry or brickwork, and sub-contract specialist works such as plastering, electrics and plumbing. This can give you thefts of both worlds in that you have one person with overall responsibility for bringing the project home yet still benefit from lower costs than a full service builder.

The downside is that a larger building firm should be able to offer a greater degree of project management, and also have indemnity cover in the event anything goes wrong as well as a reputation they will take all steps to protect.

Some clients choose to run their own trades, which can be very cost-effective, but means you have to focus full time on managing the build. Unless you’ve done it before we don’t recommend this approach!