How can you discover a reputable builder with the necessary expertise and abilities? Here is our #1 recommendation for locating a construction crew.
Your search for a builder will not be the simplest aspect of your construction project. In reality, as a result of a trade scarcity and a 20-year high in demand for construction work, it is more difficult than ever to locate the suitable team for your construction project.
Nevertheless, the significance of hiring the appropriate builder cannot be ignored. A excellent connection with your builder will not only result in the highest quality construction, but it will also ensure you get precisely what you want while potentially saving you time and money along the way.
But where can one locate such a builder? Our 13-step method will not only help you locate the correct builder, but also weed out the cowboy builders that might turn your dream of a self-build or expansion into a living nightmare.
1. Locate a local Builder
Finding a local contractor might have enormous benefits for your construction project. On-site, their knowledge of local planning permission, builders’ merchants, and other local trades will prove to be important nuggets of information.
There’s no harm in taking a stroll or a short drive around your neighbourhood to observe any construction projects. It will give you an indication of the active builders in the area, and if you notice a builder’s board, it’s a clue that, at the very least, this is a builder that is proud of their work and searching for more opportunities.
You don’t have to necessarily like the sort of work they are currently performing – after all, many people choose for conventional additions and new houses – but a builder can only deliver what’s on the blueprints.
2. Solicit Referrals From Competitors
If you’ve hired an electrician or a plumber in the past and loved their work, why not contact them and ask if they can recommend any reputable builders?
Most tradespeople are accustomed to seeing the same familiar names on the job sites, and they frequently have preferences on who they want to deal with and who they perceive to be a good source of employment.
If you can interact with one of them, you can have access to a vast network of reputable local names.
3. Ask Friends for Builder Recommendations
The phrase “word of mouth” is a cliche, but asking family and friends for recommendations is usually a smart place to start.
Many trades rely on word of mouth, so if you can discover a builder through someone you trust and whose work you can visit, you can determine whether or not they will perform a decent job.
4. Always follow up with prior clients.
Once you’ve discovered a builder you like, don’t be hesitant to request a list of former clients; if they’re confident in their work, they should be willing to offer references. This will provide you with an excellent opportunity to get to know them and view examples of their work firsthand.
Meeting prior clients is an excellent opportunity to learn not just about the quality of a builder’s work, but also about other crucial factors.
5. Locate a Contractor Online
The Federation of Master Builders is an excellent location to begin your web search for a contractor (opens in a new tab).
You may use their search feature to locate individual tradesmen in your region and view their references. All FMB members are screened and examined by a third party, and their insurance coverage is verified.
osholding.ie is also a fantastic resource for locating a local builder. They provide severe inspections, which should bolster your confidence.
Whether you’ve located a few connections, visit their websites to see what services they provide and if you can view samples of their prior work.
Use Your Architect to Find a Contractor
Numerous local architects and designers have worked on dozens of projects comparable to yours. Depending on the nature of your relationship with your designer, they may be able to assist you in locating a reliable builder.
Even if your designer is giving only a fixed-price design service, they are still one of your few early connections with knowledge of the local building scene, and it is worthwhile to approach them for a few names.
If the builder you engage is not VAT-registered, you cannot take advantage of the zero-rate VAT on new construction or the majority of VAT reductions on rehabilitation work.
Despite the fact that these websites give a source of names of more trustworthy builders, they should in no way be viewed as a replacement for the routine inspections that should always be conducted.
7. Consult the Building Inspectors
Local building inspectors are an underutilised resource for assisting residents with construction projects.
The majority of inspectors are now progressive enough to assist self-builders and renovators seeking for builders by providing clues, nods, and winks regarding local builders they have known for many years.
Understand that they are more informal guidelines than official suggestions, and that no building inspector would ever guarantee a problem-free project.
8. Avoid “Too Good to Be True” Quotations
A high price is not necessarily an indication of quality in a construction company, but it is crucial to avoid the apparent temptations of a low price. If one building contractor responds to your request for bids with an estimate for your project that is much cheaper than the other bids, you should be wary.
It is possible that the other builders’ bids are overly exorbitant, while the one company’s price is reasonable.
Nevertheless, it is quite possible that the winning business is submitting a speculative proposal in order to win the contract, and that it intends to increase its profit margin on the project by, for example, cutting shortcuts or adding a variety of additional charges as the work develops.
This might result in disagreements in the future, when it is far more difficult to resolve them.
Either that, or, as the task becomes hopelessly unprofitable and they incur a loss, they abandon it and move on to more lucrative pastures.
9. Evaluate a Builder’s Capabilities Before Committing
Once you have a list of suggested builders, it is time to examine their offerings in detail. There are several questions you ought to ask.
Where are they located, and what positions do they currently have active? The locality of a business and the commitments they’ve previously made will tell you a great deal about whether it’s feasible for them to achieve what they claim.
Experience is a further sign that a candidate is worth recruiting; if feasible, seek out people with prior employment.
Determine whether your prospective team consists of employees or independent contractors. Neither of these scenarios is desirable, but understanding what you’re paying for can help you make a more informed decision.
Equally essential are problems of qualification and documentation.
What to recall:
- Are you employing someone who can authorise gas and electricity?
- Have they obtained the proper insurance and warranties?
- What does their membership in a trade organisation truly entail? Does it obligate them to perform at a higher level, or have they merely paid for the privilege to show a brand on their van?
10. Evaluate the contractor’s estimate
Learn how to calculate your estimate, since this will play a significant role in your decision-making.
You must pose the following inquiries regarding each:
- How specific is it?
- Is it broken down?
- Exists a distinction between materials and labour?
- Include client relationship management (CRM)? It is your responsibility to keep everyone informed, most particularly you!
- Is a report on health and safety included in the price?
- Does it include everything you’ve requested?
- Has waste been accounted for appropriately? Are dumpsters and refuse trucks included?
- What elements strike out to you the most?
- Does it appear that VAT is included?
- Included in the price is project management, or will you be managing the project yourself?
- How many site meetings are scheduled to keep everyone informed and communicated?
- Have building inspectors’ costs been accounted for?
- If the forecast is for the following year, have year-over-year price increases, particularly for materials, been accounted for?
At this time, you should also familiarise yourself with how to pay a builder to ensure that you satisfy the builder’s objectives and have sufficient cash flow to keep the project going forward.
11. Obtain an Up-to-Date Reference
Talking to persons whose work is being performed by a possible builder while they are not there is also a fantastic approach to assess them. This will allow you to question them in confidence what they are like as home guests.
- Are they courteous?
- What is their mode of communication?
These replies are nearly as significant as the quality of their final product.
12. Find a builder capable in project management.
Project management entails many tasks and requires a significant amount of work, but it is one method to get the most out of your builder. These tasks vary by position, but often consist of the following:
- Ensuring that the required tradesmen are on the task at the appropriate time
- coordinating with trades to ensure timely delivery of all necessary materials.
- Participating in frequent meetings with the customer to update them
- Setting up unplanned meetings to allow the customer to make crucial choices as the construction advances.
- Organizing and conducting building inspector meetings
- Managing any additional work, including coordinating trades, acquiring materials, and keeping the customer informed.
- Coordination with the architect and structural engineer on any essential adjustments to their work, as well as the organisation of these works as they develop.
A well-managed project will often be completed on schedule, under budget, and with minimal stress.
As a result of all this, you may discover that your head is spinning. However, there are advantages to trusting your intuition.
It is hard to examine each and every factor, therefore if you have a good feeling about a specific builder or contractor and the price is reasonable, go with them.
13. Establishing a Contract
In the case of a disagreement, a contract that specifies the scope of the work to be performed in exchange for the agreed-upon fee, as well as any extras not yet agreed upon, is a valuable point of reference.
It protects you in the event that something goes wrong and provides both parties with piece of mind by documenting everything.