There are two routes to finding a good builder. The first involves doing thorough research. Get recommendations from friends and professionals, but bear in mind the old saying ‘one man’s meat is another’s poison’. Endorsements are subjective, and you must check them out, judging not only the finished work, but also how the builder handled the whole process, from running the budget, logistics, attendance, on-site facilities and regard for neighbours in terms of noise, mess and dust etc. You must ask your potential builder for a list of previous clients – contact them directly and prepare in advance a list of questions to ask them.
The second route is simply by using your intuition. This involves risk – after all, why would you invite a stranger into your home and agree to give them a potentially large amount of your hard-earned cash when you know nothing about them?
It’s far easier to move a line on a drawing than it is to move a wall.
When you’re interviewing builders, there are some simple rules to bear in mind. Be aware of how they present themselves and consider the quality and condition of their tools, vehicle and equipment. They should ask you for scaled drawings and a specification to help them put together a quote. Most problems occur with variations from the original drawings and the extra cost of implementing those changes, so be sure you’re happy with the drawings and specification before you hand them to the builder, because it’s far easier to move a line on a drawing than it is to move a wall. Then agree on all the details and costs upfront. Once you decide on a builder, have a contract drawn up specifying staged payments, never paid in cash, and only made at the stage completions agreed in the contract.