Hi there fellow mummies!
Just thought it may be useful to write about things to consider when choosing a builder. I am project manager in a design and build company in SW London and thought I’d share a few pointers, the list is by no means exhaustive!!
1) Past projects
Have they completed work that is similar to what you’re looking for? Have they got photographs they could share with you or even better references from their past clients? Can you speak to the clients?
2) Current Projects
How many projects are they currently running? Also vs. their scale. Is it a one-man band operation? Normally builders would have more than one project on the go for cash flow purposes, are there perhaps sites you could visit?
3) Health & Safety
Not an obvious one but this really separates the wheat from the chaff. What’s their attitude towards health & safety of their team? It speaks volumes when a company makes it a priority to look after the safety of their team, as it shows their professionalism and respect towards their employees. Especially important if you’re planning to live in the house during the works taking place and have little ones to worry about!
Very often builders don’t want to sign one and I really think you should to protect yourself! They don’t have to be JCT, if you find those confusing. FMB has a really easy to understand yet effective one you could sign.
5) Who will be overseeing the project?
Will it be ‘The Builder’ himself? Does the company employ project/site managers? How easy is it to get in touch with them? Will there be weekly meetings?
6) Extra work
9 times out of 10 there are extra things to do on site! It’s probably a good idea to ask the builder exactly how those are billed and have a record of all extra work in an email (on that, how good is your builder on email? You want to deal with somebody that can be reached not just on the phone so you have a record of what was discussed).
I put it at the end as in my job I’ve heard some real horror stories! My advice to you would be to go for the best builder you can afford, not the cheapest! I often hear that we’ve missed out on a project to someone cheaper only to be asked to quote for rectifying their shoddy work
That’s all that springs to mind off the top of
my head but if you have any specific questions you can just get in touch with me, hope this helps! Good luck with your projects!