If you require the services of a builder, either to work on your house, your garden or your work premises, it is vital to find a good builder to avoid potentially negative scenarios. We’ve all heard horror stories about people who have employed builders, only to find out that they are not qualified, or they charge too much for the work that they carry out. In extreme cases, bad building work can also be a health and safety hazard, so finding a good builder is very important.
So, how should you go about finding a good builder? Recommendations can be a brilliant way to build a shortlist of good builders so ask your friends, family, neighbours and work colleagues for referrals. If someone that you know has recently used the services of a builder, and they were happy with the work completed, ask them for the builders’ contact details. By asking around, you may be surprised by how many names you can get, and quite often, the same names will be mentioned time and time again, this is a very good sign.
You will need to secure the services of a qualified builder who you can trust, so the first question to ask them is “how long have you been in business?” Of course, the longevity of a builders’ career may not always be an indication of how good they are at their trade, but experience does count. Also find out about any training that they have undertaken, any qualifications that they hold and whether or not they have completed jobs previously that are similar to the work that you require. A good builder will be more than happy to answer any questions that you have, so if you feel that a builder is deflecting certain questions, avoid them as they may have something to hide.
It is generally advised that any builders who approach you directly to offer their services should be avoided. If a builder has a solid reputation, he/she should not need to knock on doors or canvas for business, so always be aware of potential ‘cowboy’ builders. However, if you do opt for any such builders, make sure that you get references from previous customers and information about the company before you sign anything or hand over any money. To this end, adverts and posters in shop windows for builders should also be treated with extreme caution (although bear in mind that in a difficult financial climate, some builders may have to advertise their services in this manner to secure new business).
When you meet a builder for the first time, try to find out as much as you can about their background while they are supplying your quote. Also find out about any guarantees that he/she offers – should anything go wrong with the building work that they complete, you will need to have assurances that you will be covered financially for any repairs that are required. If possible, get quotes from a number of different builders and make a decision based not only on price, but also on the reputation, qualifications, references and the background of the builder.