Things to ask a builder

(11 Posts)
indiegrrl Sat 17-Nov-12 18:55:04

We've got 2 builders coming round to give quotes on a few things on house we're buying: new roof, new windows, some internal decor. I've made a list of all the jobs for them, but is there anything general I should remember to ask, about their firm, their work, payment etc? Thanks.

Don't forget to ask them how many sugars they have in their brew! wink

And what sort of biscuits they prefer.... grin

legoballoon Sat 17-Nov-12 18:59:49

Do they take cash, nudge nudge!

indiegrrl Sat 17-Nov-12 19:00:28

Of COURSE. My cousins are builders, so I know the drill (and am VERY lucky), but they don't do roof or windows so now I've got to deal with being polite and assuming people will need to be asked if they want a cup of tea rather than just raiding my cupboards leaving biscuit crumbs everywhere...oh well small price to pay for the family discount!

Sorry I was being facetious, as I'm a Playmobil builder who loves brew! grin

But seriously, I would ask if they can provide you with examples of previous satisfied customers. Then you will really know if they are ok.

WildThong Sat 17-Nov-12 19:04:54

Ask them if the same person will be there every day, for continuity....
Nothing worse than different faces every day with the problems that can bring.
(speaking from experience)

wonkylegs Sat 17-Nov-12 19:05:18

Payment terms (shouldn't pay up front)
How do they expect to deal with anything they find as a surprise... Take roof off and find unexpected work.
Get agreements to exactly what they are going to do & how much it costs in writing.
How long is it going to take?
Exactly what are they using - type of tile/slate for roof and if they are suggesting them ask why that particular one.
What happens if they cause any damage?
Do they have examples of their work/ references you can check out?
What guarantees do they have for their work /materials? Are they insurance backed?
Do they envisage any problems with the work, if so what and what do they propose as a solution?

legoballoon Sat 17-Nov-12 19:07:03

Seriously,
- payment terms / staged payments (if it's a bit job, if not usually payment on completion to your satisfaction).
- a written quotation, detailing the specifications of said doors and windows, door 'furniture' etc., including 'making good' plasterwork (& decor if you wish).
- start date & estimated time to complete

Whatnowffs Sat 17-Nov-12 19:09:28

I'd ask about payment, do they want money in advance? If so when? It is perfectly acceptable for builders to charge a deposit, although my DP does not do this, he does however as for payment for materials up front if they are expensive, like your windows. I would ask them how long they anticipate the job to take, ask for a schedule of works to be drawn up before you start (if it is a run of jobs) and ask if it is the person you see who will be doing the work. How many will be on site and ask them to ensure that once they start your job they stay on your job.

It would be reasonable to ask for examples of their work too. Be wary of a prce that is too good to be true. A shedule of works protects you from hidden extras, just as it protects the builders from what i call "just jobs" where a client says "oh while your there could you just" and then express shock when we charge for it.

Whatnowffs Sat 17-Nov-12 19:14:35

Oh and yes, ask them to specifiy if they will "make good" my DP includes this in his price but you would be surprised to hear that many companies charge extra for this. Saying that, you might be happy to "make good" yoruself if you are good with a paint-brush but this should be reflected in the price. Also, be clear on what is finished - if my DP is employed to make and fit some windows (he does box sash windows - bespoke) we would always ask the client if they want them "finished" as in painted, if they don't want that we would just prime and weather proof only. Most people opt for finished, but this costs more smile

indiegrrl Mon 19-Nov-12 17:11:38

Thank you all!! This really helped, and also helped me to decide that (quotes permitting) one of the firms was much more up my street - they make good, had lots of local examples (6 houses in the road where we're buying!), have a long waiting time until they get started BUT that's because they then stay on the job throughout - and also didn't have to text me three times to ask whether they'd got the time and address right (which that particular bloke had not [hmmm]). Also spent one and a half hours going round the house and suggesting things we might want to leave alone (I've a tendency to go nuclear and then regret it, so I appreciated that). Now just wait for the quotes...

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