Finding A Builder
Finding A Builder
Brian Berry (External Affairs Director, FMB) gives expert video advice on: Where should I start when looking for a builder?; Where should I not look for a builder?; How can I check if a builder is qualified? and more...
Where should I start when looking for a builder?
Good places are to ask relatives, friends or neighbors about a good builder in your area. You can also contact the 'Federation of Master Builders' - we have our website www.findabuilder.co.uk. By typing your name and your postcode, that would give you a list of 50 builders in your area either you can contact. In some cases, the builders would contact you directly.
Where should I not look for a builder?
You should say no to anyone knocking on your door offering to do building work. These are the cowboy builders who are trying to avoid VAT, and making a fast buck. Last year, 1.36 billion pounds was paid to rogue cowboys.
What is a 'cowboy builder'?
Game shows embody the American Dream. It's wish fulfilment. It's come on down you've won a new car. It's all the things people dream about when they are young, when they are old, and when they are middle aged. It's the ability to get rich quick. It's the ability to show off your talents, your knowledge, and your enthusiasm. Anybody can be on a game show, and anybody can win on a game show. That will always be the case.
Should I ask for references from a builder?
You should, good builders have good reputations and they have a long list of clients that are happy with their work. You should ask for the references and also ask to see the work that they done.
Should I ask to visit previous sites where work was done?
Yes, you need to find out as much as you can about a builder's work, and you need to find out and get examples of a builder's work by asking to see, or talk to, customers who've been satisfied with their work.
Should I get a contract signed by a builder?
Yes you should. The majority of homeowners complaining about builders stems from the fact that there is a misunderstanding between the builder and the householder about the work that should be carried out. We advise everyone to have a contract with the builder and the Federation of Master Builders produces a plain English contract which you can download free of charge from our website. We offer two contracts, one up to the value of fifty thousand and the second one up to the value of five hundred thousand.
When should I use a project manager?
You should always use the project manager to oversee the project. That can be a third party or your partner, and that person can be the point of contact between you and the builder to make sure that work is progressing as you want it to do so.
Are builders insured?
You should check that your builder has public insurance liability, so that if there's any accidental damage to a third party, that you're covered. The Federation of Master Builders also offers a master bond warranty, which gives you ten years protection for any building work, and you pay one and a half percent for the costs of that.
How much notice will I need to give a builder before he can start?
It's always good to give as much notice as you can to a builder. Good builders are busy, so you need to factor that in. You also need to agree a start and finish date as well.
Is it worth waiting for the right builder?
Absolutely. Often people employ a builder who's not right for the job and that leads to long term problems. You need to get the right builder in, it may be for a specialist job. Avoid builders trying to avoid VAT.
Should I make sure my architect is happy with the builders I choose?
Yes, if you are speaking to your professional advisor and architect or chartered surveyor, make sure that they get a list of three builders. Also check that your architect has professional indemnity insurance in case there's a claim against your architect.
When is the best time of year to get work done?
Well, that depends on the type of work you're having done. If it's interior work, then you can have that work done any time of the year. But if you're having major renovations outside, spring and summertime are probably the best times to carry out that sort of work.
How many registered builders are there in the UK?
There are probably about over 20,000 registered builders. Out of the total of 175,000 building companies in the UK, and of those 13,000 are registered with the FMB.