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What questions to ask prospective builder

(7 Posts)
fadingfast Fri 14-Mar-14 14:53:23

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?

Thanks for any advice you can offer!

GillTheGiraffe Fri 14-Mar-14 14:58:34

Are you VAT registered?
Can you provide references?
Payment schedule?
Confirm they will provide the necessary certificates?
What hours do they work?
Are they planning any holidays i.e. Easter etc?

Who is drawing up the plans and dealing with the planning office - you or them?

Could probably think of more.

MoonlightandRoses Fri 14-Mar-14 20:18:08

Only ones I can think of are:

Do they sub-contract?
How will they notify you of issues that are discovered during the course of the build?

There are also some important internal questions to consider namely:

Do you think it will be easy to communicate with the master builder?
Is he saying all the right things (i.e. just to get the job) or does he sound like he means them?

GerMom7 Fri 14-Mar-14 21:49:07

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

Hope all goes well.

MrsTaraPlumbing Sat 15-Mar-14 10:21:24

Ditto to lots of good advice above, in addition to that -

From my life experience I would tend to look for a well established business - if they have been doing that sort of work in your area for years as opposed to completely new might be a good sign

also you could look here, these companies have been fully checked by which for all the things you would need to check:

fadingfast Sat 15-Mar-14 19:14:10

Thanks for all your suggestions, really appreciate your help.

InsertUsernameHere Sat 15-Mar-14 20:03:57

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!

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