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When it comes to having work undertaken on your property, it is very important to find a good builder. There are many people within the UK who have had extremely bad experiences with bad builders who have carried out bad or even dangerous work, or in some cases not completed it at all, leaving many homeowners with more work to complete and out of pocket.
The question is, where to find a good builder and how do you know if they are any good until you have handed over your money? The first thing to do is speak to friends or neighbours who have had building work carried out. Many good builders are appointed simply on personal recommendation. If you have contact details for a builder, do some research on properties they have worked on in the area to find out what the overall opinion may be. If you are using an architect, they may have their own recommendations from builders they have used on previous projects, but still ensure you carry out your own research on their background and history.
Don’t take the first quote you come across, and also don’t be tempted to take the lowest quote. Ask yourself why their quote is so low, and once you have narrowed down your options, get to work on your research. Ask the builder if he has any references. Any good builder would be happy to supply them, so if they seem hesitant this could be the first sign of a problem.
There are also websites you can go on to find tradespeople who have feedback left by customers. MyBuilder.com is one of the main sites, and can be a good starting point for anyone searching for a good builder locally. You can also use a search engine to find out more about a builder you are interested in, as there may be forums or blogs where they are mentioned in.
The Federation of Master Builders is an association for small to medium size builders and also has an option to find a builder through them. All of their members are vetted too. Also look for the Trust Mark on builder’s websites or paperwork which is a Government endorsed quality mark for builders and other professionals.
Get detailed quotes from your builders, being clear about what is to be included and what you are responsible for. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their work, both what they have done in the past and what they intend to do for you. Another important aspect to check is whether the builder has the appropriate level of liability insurance. Ask to see the certificate, as this is extremely important for any work to be carried out.
And finally, check terms of payment. For a small job builders would usually invoice at the end of the project so be wary if they ask for a deposit, this is only usually required for much larger projects. More importantly, if you are unsure of anything make sure you speak to your builder to clarify any queries throughout the process.
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