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Finding a local builder
Whether you are planning an extension or a completely new construction project, finding the right local builder can be a chore. Plentific’s database can generate a quick list for you of the best builders in your local area, each of which will have a Plentific profile where you can view their qualifications, past projects and customer reviews. Hire a Verified Pro and your investment will also be covered by the Plentific Guarantee, which will protect your project from start to finish.
What do you need to know about finding a local builder?
Before taking any action to hire a local builder, you should have a very clear idea of what your project involves. Is it a simple job or will it require more specialised skills? How large is it? You need to consider all of this before comparing your candidates. You will typically meet with a builder after you have spoken to an architect and obtained planning permission for your project. Consult with them and get a quote, making sure to get as many as you can to compare.
If you have been organising your project alongside an architect, or have worked with other tradespeople in the past, they will likely have a local builder they can recommend to you. Regardless, be sure to do a background check on your candidates before making a final decision. Part of this should involve reading through customer reviews, and you can even ask to see examples of a builder's previous work. There are also a number of professional organisations that builders can join, such as the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and the Association for Environment Conscious Building (AECB). These groups will have strict codes of context and standards for their members.
Particularly when discussing larger projects it is important to ask for a price breakdown. Smaller firms may need to bring in additional workers. Ask your choices whether they sub-contract certain aspects of the job, and if bringing in additional workers this way will affect your price. Will you have to pay more if the job requires certain materials, and what options do you have if you go over budget?
Your final choice should have solid guarantees and insurance policies. They should have a public liability insurance certificate, as well as policies relating to accidental damage. If there is an issue with their work, or if you are not satisfied with the end result, will they return and fix it? You should be able to get this in writing; especially with larger, long term jobs be sure to get a contract written up. Before hiring a local builder you should also check your own home and contents insurance, as this may be affected by building work.
An experienced professional should be able to quickly provide all of this information. If they cannot or are hesitant to do so, it would be better to continue your search.
What does a builder do?
A builder is a contractor who can bring an entire construction project together. They can advise you at different stages, liaise with and manage other tradespeople, acquire materials and help you with planning permission. You may also hire a builder to oversee extensions, renovations or alterations. As well as having on-site skills, a builder will also have organisational capabilities that will help bring your project to fruition.
How much does it cost to hire a local builder?
The cost of hiring a local builder depends on the size and nature of the project. A smaller job where you can provide the materials yourself would have a relatively small cost. Larger jobs will require more planning and larger teams, and it is important to have a clear budget in place. There is no set payment structure for builders. Certain firms may have a daily rate, a fixed fee based on your project or a percentage cost relating to the value of the structure. A good thing to remember for larger projects is to see if you can arrange to pay in instalments. This will give you the freedom to scrutinise the project as you go along, and in the event that the end result is unsatisfactory you may wish to withhold the final payment. You should never hire a builder based on an ‘estimate’ they give you; discuss the project with them and get a fixed rate. If a builder expects to be paid in full up front, it may be smart to look elsewhere.