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Ten questions to ask a Builder before hiring

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Alex, Staff Writer

Tuesday, 8th June 2021

Choosing a builder can feel daunting. How do you know which one is right for your project? It’s not a decision that you want to get wrong, so it’s important to be thorough.

To help you with choosing a builder, we’ve put together the top ten questions to ask a builder before you decide to hire.

1. How long have you been trading?

The first question to ask is how long the builder has been trading. Although newer builders can be perfectly capable of completing a project to a high standard, a more established builder may give you more trust in the project. Not only this, but they’re more likely to have a track record and references to back up their abilities.  

2. Can you provide references for other work you’ve completed?

It’s always a good idea to ask a builder for references from previous projects. They might even be able to point you in the direction of previous work that you can look at, to demonstrate their capabilities. This will help to enhance your trust so that you know you’re hiring a builder with a great reputation.

3. Is your price an estimate or a quotation?

Here’s one to watch – is the price you’ve been given a quote or an estimation? A quote is a set figure which shouldn’t change, whilst an estimation is essentially a guess of the final cost which could change depending on the progress of the project. If you want to know the costs of your project up front, it’s important to check that the price you’ve been given is a quote.

4. What are the payment terms?

Some builders will ask for full payment upfront whilst others will require a deposit with the rest of the money on completion. Finding out the payment terms upfront means that you’ll know exactly what’s expected from the start.  

5. Does the price include skip and scaffolding hire?

Many projects will require a skip and scaffolding to be hired. Whilst some builders will include this in their quote, others won’t, so it’s always a good idea to ask this question to make sure there are no extra hidden costs that you should be aware of.

6. Do you have liability insurance?

Your builder should be insured for any accidents or damage that may occur during the project. This includes your builder becoming injured, an accident occurring as a result of their work or your property becoming damaged.

7. Is the site cleaned up at the end of each day?

A tidy site will help to lower the risk of an accident occurring, as well as leaving you with the tidiest home possible (although let’s face it, no home will ever be clean and tidy during a building project!). That’s why it’s a good idea to ask whether your builder will clean up the site at the end of each day.

8. What is your address and contact details?

Any reputable builder will be happy to share their address and contact details with you. If they are reluctant to hand over their details, everything may not be as it seems, so it’s worth being a bit more cautious.

9. How long will the project take?

Building work can be unpredictable, with delays often happening that alter timescales. However, your builder should be able to give you a rough time scale of how long your project is expected to take, allowing you to plan your life around it.

10. When are you available to start?

Finally, you need to know when your builder is available to start. Whilst some may be ready to start immediately, others may have a waiting list of a few weeks or months. Availability is a key factor when you’re choosing a builder, so it’s a key question to ask.

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