So, you’ve finally convinced your significant other that the children need a place to store their toys. Or the value of your house would skyrocket if you pop a stylish orangery in the garden. Or maybe your partner is so inept with tools you’re living in the middle of an episode of DIY SOS. Whatever the reason you’ve embarked on a home improvement adventure, choosing the right builder is the most important decision you’ll make. Here are our top tips to help you achieve your dream home.
Ask around for recommendations
You know those annoying Facebook posts, ‘looking for someone who can shave my rabid dog and not sue me when he bites you’? Well, post one yourself and send it out into the ether. Word of mouth is the best way to find yourself a builder who won’t leave you sitting on a pile of breeze blocks while they sun themselves in Benidorm. If any of your friends have had building work done, ask them for their builder’s details. Alternatively, try the Federation of Master Builders’ find a builder service. Or, save yourself some time and trouble and contact the best builders this side of the Severn Bridge.
Get a few quotes
When choosing a builder, don’t forget the three quote rule. Put yourself in a better negotiating position by knowing the going rate for the work you want doing, so get quotes from three building companies. Ask for references from others that have used their building services. A reputable builder will even take you to see some of their completed projects so you can see the quality of their work for yourself.
Prepare a brief
If you’re not sure what you want, then you’re leaving yourself open to spiralling costs and the possibility of your new extension looking like something Katie Price built. It’s fine to ask your builders for a bit of creative inspiration. In fact, they’re likely to have some ideas which will work well in your property or save you a bit of cashola, but you need to have a clear idea of what you’re trying to achieve and your budget. When preparing a brief, think about:
- Space requirements
- Electrics, e.g. where you want your plugs
- Sustainability, e.g. insulation, energy efficiency
- Technology, e.g. do you want a smart home
Pinterest is a great place to get some ideas for your project if you’re at a creative roadblock. If you spot something that hits your home improvement spot, show your builder so they can incorporate it into the design and quote.
You get what you pay for
Ensuring you get the best value for money is a sensible approach for choosing a builder. However, if you pay Primark prices, you won’t get a John Lewis service. Someone offering you a ridiculously low price is unlikely to make a profit unless they cut a few corners. Or, they may throw in some extra costs as the work progresses. Make sure you get a detailed written quote you can refer back to if you opt for a low price. Otherwise, you may find yourself drawing pistols at dawn or watching them ride off into the distance without finishing the job.
Trust your gut when choosing your builder
Not very practical, I know, but if someone is saying things that don’t quite ring true, trust your intuition. You’re investing both time and money in improving your living space, so choose a builder who communicates promptly and listens to you. Get your best Jeremy Paxton on and ask them questions about the process. As many as you want. You’re paying them to do a job, so don’t be afraid to challenge them if you’re unsure about what they’ve told you.
That being said, the way to a builder’s heart is a good brew and the occasional chocolate biscuit. Oh, and paying them on time. If you’d like some help with your home improvement project, EPM Building Solutions would love to talk to you.