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How many builders should I get a quote from?

Pricing A Building Job

Brian Berry (External Affairs Director, FMB) gives expert video advice on: How many builders should I get a quote from?; Should I always go with the lowest quote?; Will the job always be done for the quoted price? and more...

How many builders should I get a quote from?

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) recommends that you get at least three builders references to find out the nature of the work being carried out. Also, do as much preperation as you can by producing a written specification detailing the work you want carried out. Make sure you get a quote and not an estimate for the work being done, so that the quote would be for the final amount that you would have to pay. If you're happy with the quote, then we suggest you sign a contract with the builder. You can download a contract from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) web site, or the builder may have their own terms of conditions which you can use as well.

Should I always go with the lowest quote?

We don't recommend that you always go for the lowest quote. You need to find a builder that you're comfortable with, and also in terms of the value that they're going to do.

Will the job always be done for the quoted price?

You need to make sure that the quote and the contract that you've signed covers everything that needs to be done for the building work. Sometimes, unexpected events happen. The builders should tell you about those extra, unexpected events, and you need to then agree the extra additional cost with the builder.

Will the cost include all materials and labour?

We need to make sure that the contract covers all the costs involved, including the supply of materials, removing the rubbish and making good at the end of the job.

Do builders use their own tools?

All experienced and qualified builders, and certainly all FMB members, will have their own tools - so you don't need to provide tools for the builder. You might want to check that they've got their own vacuum cleaner rather than using your own.

How much should I pay the builder up front?

Well, we recommend that you actually don't make any payments up front. A good builder, a professional builder, won't be asking for money up front. He should have a schedule which details the payments you will need to make during the course of the building work. And we also recommend that you withhold a certain amount of money until the work is complete, just to make sure that you are happy with the finished product.

Should I pay builders cash?

We don't recommend that you should pay builders in cash. Professional builders and certainly members of the FMB would not be asking for cash. They've got their own legitimate businesses, and I think any builder that is asking for cash is probably someone that you want to avoid.

Should I ask for receipts when I pay a builder?

You should certainly ask for receipts for the work being done, just in case. If anything goes wrong, then you've got the receipts to prove that the work was carried out.

Why would a job go over budget?

Sometimes unforeseen circumstances because of a technicality or problem that the builder has discovered, in which case you need to talk to your builder about the additional costs. Again, we do recommend that you have a plain English contract so that you can factor all this in.

Do quoted prices include VAT?

Not all builders are VAT registered. If their annual turnover is less than forty-seven thousand pounds a year, they won't be registered for VAT. Most professional builders and certainly members of the FNB will be VAT registered, and therefore, the quote should actually state the VAT that you will have to pay. Watch out for anyone who tries to avoid the VAT by offering to do a job cash in hand. That's someone to avoid.

Is work guaranteed for a certain period?

In terms of guarantees, you need to talk to your builder about this. FMB members can offer you a ten-year guarantee, which means that any work that goes wrong you've got the reassurance that it can be rectified within the ten-year period. You pay one-and-a-half percent on the total cost of the building work to give you that protection.