Let’s face it: when it comes to achieving that home renovation of your dreams, choosing the right builder is oh-so-important. You can have all the ideas and visions you like, but if your builder can’t turn them into a reality then you’re beaten before you start…
Finding the right team for your project isn’t always easy. Are you wondering what to ask a builder before hiring?
A face-to-face meeting on site with your prospective builder is the perfect way to assess their professionalism and approach to your project. It’s also a great way to find out whether you’re ‘comfortable’ around them – if you’re going to have someone working on your property for any length of time, it needs to be someone you feel comfortable around.
At Combit Constructions, specialist builders in North London, we understand how important it is to get the right builder for the job. That’s why we’ve taken the time to give you this list of questions for builders before you sign the paperwork or building contract:
1. HAVE YOU EVER COMPLETED A JOB SIMILAR TO THIS ONE?
If your builder has completed a project like yours in the past, that’s going to be a big plus. After all, it’s your own hard-earned pennies you’re investing, so you need to be sure that your builder has the experience and the skill set to complete your project successfully.
Ask about more than just the building works – is he/she familiar with your type of property and your area? If yours is a period home, are they confident that they can blend the new part of the home in with the existing structure?
2. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN BUSINESS?
There’s no substitute for experience, and this is one of the key home builder questions. Ask for concrete evidence such as paperwork or book-keeping records as proof that what they’re claiming is correct.
3. CAN YOU GIVE ME A LIST OF REFERENCES?
There’s nothing like real evidence. Ask for the names and details of previous customers and take the time to contact these people. Look at older work as well as recent jobs because sometimes dodgy workmanship only becomes evident as the building ages.
4. WHAT SAFETY PROCEDURES DO YOU FOLLOW?
This is a question that is bound to trip up novice builders. Reliable, experienced builders will have safety procedures and protocols in place and won’t mind being asked about them either! Cowboy builders are likely to try and avoid answering these types of questions directly.
Knowing that your builder has strategies in place to protect you, your property and themselves is very important.
5. INSURANCE, WARRANTIES AND GUARANTEES
A reliable builder will be able to outline all guarantees in writing. Be wary if your builder cannot provide an insurance backed guarantee – if he/she goes out of business, you might be left in the lurch!
Many materials come with a manufacturer’s warranty, so ask for a list of these items and their warranties too.
Ask to see certificates of their insurance – builders are legally required to have both employers and public liability cover, so make sure this is the case.
6. DO YOU PROVIDE A WRITTEN QUOTATION?
This is super important. Beware of folks who like to give ballpark figures or estimations. Remember, there is a big difference between a quote and an estimation – an estimation is only an educated guess, while a quotation is a binding agreement.
Your quotation should be in writing and include an itemized list of works to be done, labor and materials and all associated costs.
7. WHEN CAN YOU START?
This is one of the important questions to ask a home builder. Some builders aren’t honest and will happily cite unrealistic lead times and completion dates. Previous customers might be one of the best sources of information here.
It also pays to ask how much work the builder has on the go, then look at the big picture in comparison with the size of the team. A small team with a lot of jobs in progress might be overstretched, which could affect lead times and completion of your project.
8. WHAT SKILLS DO YOU HAVE IN-HOUSE?
Find out what skills your building team has in-house, and what parts of your project will be completed by sub-contractors. If sub-contractors are needed, who will they send in to do the work?
The team at Combit Constructions, specialist builders in North London, has been crafting home extensions and renovation projects for many years now, and we understand how important it is to hire the right builder for your project.
Igor and the team offer superior service, quality workmanship and that peace of mind that only comes from hiring an excellent builder. Contact us today and let’s start turning your building dreams into a reality.