Finding a builder

(14 Posts)
Chocalholic1 Thu 13-Aug-20 07:21:10

We are trying to find a builder for a small kitchen extension. The footprint is 5 square meters. We are building on to an L shape so it means 2 walls have to come down. All of the quotes are coming in at around £35k-£40k which is way more than our architect initially advised.

One of the quotes has come in way lower at £24k. The builder has excellent reviews on Rated People. I've spoken to him a couple of times and he seems a decent guy, easy to get a hold of etc. All of the other builders are booked up a few months in advance but he is ready to start beginning of September. I'm just a bit worried it seems too good to be true.

Does this sound too good to be true? Would I be daft just to book this builder? Thanks!

OP’s posts: |
UnconsideredTrifles Thu 13-Aug-20 07:45:31

The price wouldn't worry me as much as the availability. DH is a builder and he is genuinely good at it, and he generally does come in cheaper than competitors (possibly because he's under the VAT limit). However, he is ALWAYS booked up a year ahead - to not be booked up, in a world where there is a shortage of decent builders, is a massive red flag.

Rated people is not a great guide - it's easy to post fake jobs to get reviews.

It's also worth checking, with builders, whether their estimate covers everything. A lot of them around here give low quotes then it turns out they haven't included half the stuff that needs doing and you find out too late....

Good luck!

Ariela Thu 13-Aug-20 08:29:45

Ask the builder who else he has done similar for, and if you can see the work.
Ask on FB if anyone has used them.

SkiingIsHeaven Thu 13-Aug-20 08:38:38

Normally good builders are booked up for months in advance.

I would be very cautious to the point of dismissing the idea.

If he has underpriced the job then he will use you as a back up, just doing bits and pieces when he has a bit of time.

Go with a recommendation from someone you know.

I am a Structural Engineer so I see lots of building projects.

Good luck.

Shouldbeworkingnotreadingtalk Thu 13-Aug-20 08:56:17

Not answering your actual question, but I think it's fairly common that architects never, ever, estimate accurately the costs of the work.
They say "around £25,000 to build" and the people doing the work (builders), who actually have upto date pricing on labour, material costs etc, just chuckle. . . And quote £35k. . Invariably architects don't estimate anywhere near enough as they are often overly optimistic / don't have a bloody clue what's happening with material pricing.... let us know how you get on. X

Chocalholic1 Thu 13-Aug-20 09:01:18

Thanks everyone. My gut is that it's too good to be true. I suppose I posted this for reassurance that I wasn't over-spending by £10k by dismissing him. I think if I hired this builder I would be stressed about the quality of the job.

That's also good to know re the architect being over optimistic. Again, just want reassurance that I'm not being fleeced!

OP’s posts: |
FizzyPink Thu 13-Aug-20 09:07:10

Is there any reason why he might be available and much cheaper?

We had this recently with our garden albeit on a much smaller scale! The guy I liked the most that came with the best reviews was half the price of other quotes and available. Turns out him and his friend had recently started up their own company whereas they’d previously worked for another builder so were still trying to build up business.

They did an amazing job and at least 3 neighbours came and asked about having their gardens done like ours so I can’t imagine they’ll have much availability for long.

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intheningnangnong Thu 13-Aug-20 09:09:12

However, he is ALWAYS booked up a year ahead That’s just NOT true. Our builder was available and he was cheapest by far, and is excellent. He runs 4 jobs at a time.

Go visit his most recent 2 jobs.

intheningnangnong Thu 13-Aug-20 09:09:53

* Not true for all good builders.

Jordabro Thu 13-Aug-20 12:18:17

Builders who price jobs significantly less than the others, especially builders with availability, should be taken with caution because that's a tail tail sign of a cowboy. Good reliable builders are always busy and they know what they're worth. At the very least I would ask to see any previous work that's related to what it is you want them to do. I don't mean see pictures, like reviews they too can be manipulated, but to physically see his work and ask questions. If he won't let you, makes excuses, gets annoyed, trys to manipulate you or he hasn't even done a similar job before then definately not, you'd be mad to take him on. Basically you'll need to do some in depth research. £24k is alot of money, but it will be even more if he runs off and leaves a disaster for another builder to undo. Me personally, I'd rather wait for a good reliable builder than to risk being on the next season of rogue traders.

namechanger0989 Thu 13-Aug-20 17:02:56

We had this exact same thing! Architect said 20ish, builder came back at 50!! In the end it is working out about 30. I would say:
Ask to see some recent work/get recommendations.
Check that he is including the same amount of work as everyone else. Eg 35 might be for plastering, electrics etc but his 24 might just be for the walls up.
I wouldn't worry about him not being booked, our builder is highly recommended by a few people and ended up being able to start almost immediately and has gone above and beyond with work. I guess it depends how they work their diary, some builders might be more picky about jobs or might only book up job to job, you never know.

Chocalholic1 Thu 13-Aug-20 18:30:10

He's very specific, it includes everything (floor and kitchen fitting) "to architect's specifications" and my architect has been very specific with the drawings - every builder has commented that they are really detailed!

I would ask to see his work (he says he's doing an extension a few miles away) but I feel bad messing him around if I end up saying "Nah, we're not giving you the job as you were too cheap!). blush

All the prices are coming in around £35-£40k. The builder my architect suggested was £52k!!!

OP’s posts: |
Alexalee Thu 13-Aug-20 19:47:35

They all sound very expensive.
Any builder could have a job cancelled and therefore be available at short notice
Look at his local job, why wouldn't you
Almost seems people like to overpay for things on here these days... especially building work. The most expensive might be a cowboy as much as any other

intheningnangnong Thu 13-Aug-20 19:56:32

Nah, we're not giving you the job as you were too cheap
Honestly speak to his clients. Look at your spec does it cover EVERYTHING - door handles, doors, kitchen fitting. If not drill down. Ask how he deals with the unexpected? How would he price this? As I said our builder was 90k cheaper, seriously way off the others. Our top quote I now think was taking the piss.

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