Not all #builders are the same
13th February 2014
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Having building or home improvement work done can be difficult and stressful. But there are certain things you can do before you employ builders to try and make sure the job goes as smoothly as possible.

The first step is to find a good builder. Wading through the Yellow Pages or a local business directory can be a minefield. Just because someone advertises their services does not mean that they are good at what they do. The only sure fire way of finding a good, reliable and experienced builder is by word of mouth or recommendation.

Of course, the type of builder you need will depend on the work you have in mind but generally, if you want someone who is professional, discreet and who will do a good job, you should contact two or three different companies and arrange for the builder to visit you to discuss in detail the work to be carried out, the timescale and costs. Good builders are busy and you may find that the one you choose may not be able to start work immediately but don't let this put you off. It is better to wait a week or so for work to commence then to go to a company who can start straight away because they have very few customers.

Here are a few tips to help you make the right decision:

Be clear about what you want: Write a detailed description of the work that needs to be done as far as you understand it before talking to builders. If you have a clear idea about what you want, draw a picture or cut out something from a catalogue or magazine to show the builder what you're looking for. The more specific you are, the greater your chances of getting an accurate quote for the work. There is also less chance of misunderstandings occurring between you and the builder.

Find out what you should pay for the work: Get written quotes from at least three builders. Make sure these are quotes and not estimates. An estimate is a rough price which could change. A quote is an exact price which can't be increased later without your agreement. Make sure the quote is in writing, breaking down the cost of doing the work and the cost of materials. Sometimes builders will charge for quotes â check this out in advance.

Get references: Ask how long the builder has been trading and what experience they have. If they have not been referred to you personally, ask to see recent examples of their builder's work. Agree costs and how long the job should take Agree as much with the builder as possible in advance to avoid problems later on. It's best to get this agreement in writing:

Agree a fixed cost, or daily rate of pay, and the number of days the job is likely to take. Make sure you're clear how many hours work a builder will do a day for the price quoted.

Agree that the builder will contact you to discuss the job taking longer and to explain why

Don't pay upfront before the job starts. Deposits are usually only payable where custom-made materials are needed or where the project will take a long time to complete.

If the project is a large one, agree staged payments which keep the work progressing. That way, any problems can be put right before the final payment. Make sure it's clear at which point in the work the payments are due and what work you expect to be done at that time.

Go through the list of materials to work out prices. Or you could go to a builders merchant together to see what you can negotiate to make the price cheaper, or ask the builder to do this.

To find a good, reliable and trustworthy builder in the Forest of Dean go to

About the Author

Martin F

Member since: 22nd December 2011

I have recently purchased the best of the Forest of Dean and Chepstow from the previous owners Paul and Sharon James. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible over the coming months and assure...

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