We are thinking of having an extension to the back of our house. Reasonably straightforward (we hope), single story to effectively replace existing conservatory. We have never had any building work done before. We've had a few builders recommended to us. Any suggestions of the sort of questions we should be asking, apart from price and timescale?
Ask to see previous projects or speak to previous clients Check they have appropriate insurance What form of contract will you have Will you meet with them regularly - at least weekly - to go over progress Definitely check how you will be notified about any issues that come up Will they provide you with schedule of works Ask when you will need to make decisions about materials and finishes
Which have some useful guides Google the recommended builders to look for reviews Search old threads on mumsnet as there is lots of good advice
The questions I'd ask the people recommending are - how close to the original quote was the final bill, and what was the reason and process for the variation? (the builder with the cheapest quote might not be the cheapest!!) How did they deal with difficulties as they arose? Did they stick to timescales? How did the manage the neighbours/council/architect? What were they like to work with (I got my builder from a friend who is bereft that she no longer gets to see them everyday). Are they onsite everyday and is somebody in charge!! Also go and see a build in progress - will really give you an idea of craftsmanship and attitude. Once you have chosen your builder go back to the person that recommended them and find out any tips they have about working with those particular people - if you get it right if will pay you back. There are some great building contractors out there that are real professionals -but they are busy and only need word of mouth to get work so you might need to hunt them out and be patient!