How To Find a Builder: Where to Start

Finding a highly skilled builder who is able to work within your budget can be a daunting and troublesome process. If this is your first time, then the chances are you’ll have a cluster of questions and possibly wrong assumptions. Where do I even begin my search? What credentials should I be looking out for? How do I know that their style will suit my vision? If these are only a few of the questions that have been troubling you, then you’re in luck. In our guide, we will highlight the common pitfalls that you should avoid as well as showing you how to find the right builder to make your dream build into a reality.

How to do your research

There are a number of different ways you can do this and they can all help to mould a well-balanced opinion. The first step of the research process is to ask around for recommendations.

Ask around for recommendations 

Nothing is more trustworthy than a recommendation from either friends, family or neighbours. A lot of traders rely on word of mouth marketing, and hearing first hand from somebody you trust is sure to help give you an idea as to whether this builder is the right fit for you. It’s not enough to enquire about the finished project since it’s just as significant to ask for judgements on the building process as a whole:

–          Do the builders turn up on time?

–          How often do they have regular meetings with the site manager?

–          Were the projects finished on time?

–          Did they pay close attention to the details of your envisioned build?

–          Were there any hidden costs?

–          Did they stay within the budget?

Finding a builder online

The internet has a massive amount of data and so, quite naturally, you may not even know where to begin looking. A reliable starting point is to look on sites like the Federation of Master Builders. They offer handy tools to help refine your search to find specific trades within your location as well as detailing a list of references.

Checkatrade.com and The Guild of Master Craftsmen are also reliable sources to begin your search for a builder as a result of their strict vetting system that involves each member being independently inspected.

A number of these websites provide ratings to illustrate the quality of tradespeople’s services. However, even if a builder has developed a good online reputation, you should still tread carefully since nothing is more reliable than a personal recommendation. For example, DDS Architecture a local architecture firm based in Edinburgh used a combination of word of mouth and online marketing to build trust with the local community. If possible, still try to find out more about the quality of their workmanship from people/businesses that have used them directly.

Using Your Intuition

This is the tricky bit since it involves risk. When interviewing builders, there are a number of rules you should keep in mind. Be conscious of how they present themselves and try to assess the quality of their equipment, tools and vehicle. A good indicator of their competence is if they ask you for scaled drawings and a specification for them to estimate a quote. It is important to ensure that you’re happy with the drawings and specifications before you hand them to a builder since variations from the original drawings are likely to add unnecessary complications to dimensions and price.

Once you’ve decided on the right builder for you, the next stage is to get a contract written up. The rule to bear in mind here is to never to pay in cash and always have the payments processed at agreed stage completions within the contract.

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