10 tips to help you choose the right builder

10 tips to help you choose the right builder

We’ve all heard the horror stories; cowboy builders, costs spiralling out of control, shoddy workmanship and half-finished projects. More than 45,000 people called Citizens Advice last year looking for help with home improvement and maintenance problems, and according to the Federation of Master Builders cowboy contractors cost the UK economy an estimated £10bn a year.

It’s a minefield – but it doesn’t have to be that way!

At Mobius, we understand that choosing the right partner for any electrical, mechanical or build project is never an easy decision, especially when that project involves your own home.  You should be looking for the right balance of a fair price, high quality and good organisation. With this in mind, we thought we’d share 10 helpful tips that will help you to make the right decision:

1. Ask around

It’s always good to seek recommendations from people you know and trust.

2. Take references

Don’t be afraid to talk to previous customers, ask for references, recommendations or testimonials. If a contractor can’t provide these, quite simply steer clear.
 

3. Check credentials

It may sound obvious but always ensure that your contractor has the appropriate registrations, accreditation, qualifications, experience and insurance. This is especially pertinent when the project involves any electrical work.

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4. Look online

take a look at their website. Is it up to date? Are there recent examples of work, testimonials and case studies? Is there a landline number? A building company with just a mobile number is often a red-flag.

5. Choose appropriately

A luxury or large project has to be extensively organised and this is usually best done by a highly experienced overall manager supported by a well-organised back office team who will work together to synchronise trades and suppliers to produce high-quality results without delay. They will ensure that the right trades, in the right numbers are onsite at the right time and have all the necessary materials to hand. An owner/manager type setup where your builder organises things from a mobile phone in the back pocket might well be cheaper, but the overall result and experience is unlikely to compare favourably.

6. Aim for one point of responsibility

While it might seem tempting to try to save money by directly engaging separate tradesmen such as carpenters, electricians, plasterers and so on, it is rarely wise. Co-ordinating all the separate trades takes great experience and organisation and getting it wrong will almost certainly result in your project going over time and budget.

7. Avoid ‘cash’ deals

You have no valid contract, or recourse, if you have no proof of payment.

8. Check what’s included

Ensure your quote includes everything you need. Beware of added extras. Many people prefer to work on a fixed price. There is nothing worse than being hit with an unexpected bill at the end of a project!

9. Check financial stability

Ensure the company you work with has solid financial foundations, this will impact on their relationships with critical suppliers and ensure that your interests are protected.

10. Presentation

Take note of how they present themselves. Consider the quality of their tools, vehicle and equipment as this is often a clue as to the standards of workmanship and attention to detail.