A new building project can be an ambitious undertaking, and you might lack the skills or resources to confidently complete all of the necessary work yourself. For that reason, you might seriously consider seeking help from a building contractor, but how can you find the right one?
There are various means through which you can help to prevent yourself getting lumbered with an overpriced or even abandoned project. Here are some things to particularly watch out for…
A willingness to provide references in writing
The Homebuilding & Renovating website recommends that you find a builder through a friend, but what if you don’t know anyone who has recently tasked a builder with the type of work you seek? In that case, you could ask contractors for references, like the Citizens Advice website advocates.
Ask each contractor for two or three recent examples of relevant work, plus contact details for people who received the work, so that you can check the authenticity of the written references.
An easy means of contacting the contractor
You can’t confidently scotch the chances of unforeseen issues popping up as the building work gets underway, so you should make sure that the contractor can be easily contacted.
To this end, you should ask the contractor for the full contact details of their business, rather than simply a mobile number. If you only get a mobile number, the contractor could turn out to be difficult to reach should a problem arise, so you should ring the business to verify that the contractor does actually work for them.
Answers to various interview questions
It would be good practice to conduct in-person interviews with contractors before hiring any of them. To make sure that you address all of the relevant points during the interview, you should prepare for it by writing down what exact work you seek and questions aimed at fetching the required details.
During the meeting, you should listen carefully to what they pledge to do and write it down. That way, you can benefit from a record of the crucial information regarding the job they have said they will carry out. The question that you may ask to build contractor:
How long have you been in this business?
Do you have a contracting license?
What is our timeline for completion?
What is the payment schedule?
Is there a variety for your services and what the materials you will be using or do you have good materials references for the wood supplier, cement, aggregates, clay, metals, bricks, concrete, and pipe suppliers?
The details you need for a written contract
Although you form a contract with a contractor from the moment you give them the go-ahead, that contract might not be written down. It’s therefore advised that you attempt to source a written contract before you finalise your choice of contractor to hire.
The contractor might provide that written contract themselves – but if they don’t, you can write your own, outlining precisely what you’re paying for as well as everything agreed on.
An attractive quote – of course!
Be careful not to confuse a quote with an estimate! The latter is simply a rough guess at the price of the job, so you could end up paying more, whereas a quote refers to a fixed price. Hence, a quote can provide a solid idea of what you will get and how much you will pay for it.
Therefore, insist on receiving a quote instead of an estimate. Fortunately, you might not have to push too hard; Findley Roofing & Building, for example, makes it easy for homeowners in North East England to source quotes for building and roofing in Gateshead, Newcastle and nearby.