Finding the best builder for your project is critical to achieving a good result. But it can also be quite a stressful process. You want to make sure that your builder will work hard for you and deliver the quality of work you require, on time and to budget.
Getting a list of reputable local builders is key, as is checking them out! Asking local contacts and then using the power of the internet to check their credentials will mean that you can get your project off to a good start.
Here are our 10 top tips for creating your initial long list of builders:
Finding a Builder – what you should do
- Tip 1: Match the size and nature of your works to the size and experience of the builder
If you’re carrying a large complex build such as a major whole house renovation of a listed property, then make sure the builders you long-list have the relevant skills and experience of working on projects of your scale and value. Likewise if your project is more modest, such as a single storey extension, then choose a builder who specialises in projects of that nature.
- Tip 2: Ask friends and family who’ve carried out a similar project to yours recently to recommend local builders they’ve used themselves
Word of mouth will be an important source of builders for your long-list.
- Tip 3 : Make sure you get your friends to list the local builders to avoid too!
Most building problems experience hiccups along the way, but there is no excuse for poor workmanship, protracted avoidable delays or excessive additional costs.
- Tip 4 : Note any companies that seem to work regularly in your area
Look out for site boards and vans working in your area. Then check the companies up online to check their basic credentials. Many building companies will probably have Google Reviews, Trustpilot Reviews or comments posted on their Facebook page.
- Tip 5 : Ask local construction industry professionals such as architects, quantity surveyors, structural engineers or project managers
Unlike most homeowners, construction professionals work with building companies repeatedly. They know which builders to avoid, and which are reputable. Their experience of working on many projects will mean that they are also be able to suggest which contractors are best suited to a particular type of project.
- Tip 6 : Check local companies with trade association membership
You can search for builders, by specialism on the Federation of Master Builders website. There are also many local councils who have their own trusted trader lists. In addition there are now many 3rd parties who can help you find a builder such as My Builder, Bark, Checkatrade etc.
- Tip 7 : Call into your local trade suppliers
This is probably most relevant when looking for specialist trades – for example talking to your local ceramic or stone tile store if looking for a reputable tiler, or a specialist timber merchant if looking for a joiner.
- Tip 8 : Ask your neighbours, local estate agent or relocation agent if you’re new to the area
When choosing a builder or trades person, try to appoint a local company. They’ll be cheaper as spend less time travelling to your project. They will also be much more anxious to do a good job and maintain their local reputation should something go wrong.
Finding a Builder – what you should never do
- Tip 9 : Simply give the work to a builder
Although you may already know of a good builder you should always get several quotations. If you give the work without getting comparable prices you may get a good result, but the price is unlikely to be competitive.
- Tip 10 : Never respond to contractors who knock on your door to ask for work
It sounds like an obvious point, but unfortunately there are still a lot of rogue cowboy companies about, and this is how they tout for business.
Once you’ve got yourself a building project longlist of construction companies, the next step you need to take is to reduce it down to a shortlist. In our next blog we’ll explain how to carry out the due diligence checks to make sure you pick the best builder for you.
Of course, life is busy and choosing a builder can be time-consuming. It can also be difficult to find a builder if you are new to an area or are planning to carry out a construction project in a different location from your home.
That’s where CLPM’s Quantity Surveying team can help. We’re RICS regulated, and 100% independent – so you can trust us to provide you with expert, impartial advice.
Over the years we’ve helped hundreds of clients find and appoint the best builder for their construction project. If you’re planning to carry out building works and need help finding a builder we’d love to hear from you.
Email on firstname.lastname@example.org, complete a contact form or call 01923 896550 for a chat.
This blog was originally published in June 2016, but was updated in December 2021.