questions to ask your builder

Are you thinking about commissioning a builder for some changes to your home or commercial property? You might, for instance, have decided to add an extension to your property. Adding an extension is a smart choice because it will add value to the home while also providing the extra space that you and your family need.

It’s important to be aware that this is always going to be a big decision and it does need to be handled the right way. You need to make sure that you do hire the right builders for the job. Choosing the wrong builder for a project like this will impact the quality of the final result – resulting in costly repairs to correct the issues. 

To give yourself the best chance at pre-empting any issues, you need to make sure that you are asking builders the right questions. Our builders in Surrey have assembled some of the key questions that we are asked at the start of a project: 

1. Are You Insured? 

You might assume that a builder is always going to be insured, but you shouldn’t take this for granted. It is possible that a builder doesn’t have any insurance. If you never asked this question then it is going to put you in a weaker position. 

At the very least, a builder should have public liability insurance. But they should have other types in place too. This will ensure that you are getting the full level of protection that you need on your project. Remember, you shouldn’t just take their word for it either. You should make sure that a builder is providing you with evidence that they are fully insured. 

2. Can I Have A Written Statement of The Costs?

Budgeting is always going to be crucial when you are completing work on your home. You need to make sure that it is not going to cost more than you can afford. You don’t want to end up in a situation where work on your home or commercial premise pushes you into unexpected debt. This is easy to avoid if you make sure that you do get a formally written estimate of any relevant costs for work like this. 

You can also use this written estimate to check if there have been any changes to the costs for your building work. If there are any changes, you can use the record provided to enquire as to why the costs are not the original amount quoted to you. 

A full quote in writing will ensure that you have the power to take this step. There are various costs that could be included in a statement like this from the cost of skip hire to the materials that they are going to use. 

3. Will You Provide Me With References?

A key point that you should keep in mind is how you can guarantee that the quality of work is going to be what you would expect. There are a range of steps that you can take to guarantee this. However, we recommend that you do ask for references of past projects. For example, we have a number of Checkatrade reviews from real life clients that show the quality of our work. 

A company should be able to provide you with such references and may have a full portfolio with statements from clients that they have worked with in the past. You must make sure that a building team has the skills and expertise as well as the experience working on projects similar to your own. That way, you will be able to give yourself peace of mind that they can handle a job like this for you. 

How Long Will The Project Take?

Remember, it is possible that you need the project completed within a set deadline. It’s likely that you don’t want work like this to stretch on for months. The good news is that it doesn’t have to. You just need to make sure that you are getting an official estimate of how long the work is going to take from the building company that you are working with. Be aware that some factors could impact this deadline including the weather but in general it should provide you with an accurate timeline. 

How Much Disruption Will There Be?

Finally, you need to make sure that a builder is going to take the necessary steps to ensure minimal levels of disruption for your neighbours. This could include asking them about when they are going to work through the day, what equipment they are going to bring, and how loud work will be.  

Do you understand all the planning requirements? 

More often than not, a builder will be great at the actual work, but will not be clued up on building requirements such as whether planning permission is needed or whether your project falls under permitted development. Whilst it’s ultimately your responsibility to find these things out, don’t assume that your builder will know the exact regulations as they quite frequently change and are different from region to region (or even property to property). 

We hope this helps you understand some of the key questions that you should ask before you ask a builder to complete work on your home. By ticking off this list, you can guarantee that you are covering all the usual issues and avoiding any unexpected scenarios that you might encounter.

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