Working with Builders

Added on 06 May 2019

When you buy a property that needs work, you usually hope to be able to recoup the cost of renovation by adding significantly to the future selling price. That’s the theory anyway! But getting the builders in can be stressful, and we have all heard stories of extortionate costs, unforeseen extras, no-shows, and poor, even dangerous, workmanship.

When assessing tradespeople, there are several things you can do to avoid disappointment or financial loss. For example:

Ask a friend in an allied profession such as a surveyor or architect to recommend names of proven tradespeople.

Don’t rely on your own guesstimates! Decide what you want to do, get several quotes (not estimates) and work your budget around these.

Don’t give details of your budget to the builder.

Factor in incidentals such as alterations to plumbing, wiring or tiling that may be affected by your work. Get quotes from specialists.

Tradespeople work best with people they know, so ask your chosen builder to recommend other specialists.

Don’t be afraid to ask to see previous work and speak to the client.

Don’t overlook the cost of removing rubble, old carpets, etc. Skips “bulk out” quickly and can cost over £300 a time depending on size.

Request an invoice in stages, and avoid “cash in hand”.

Agree a finish date with penalties for failing to meet deadlines.

Decide how realistic it will be to live in the property during renovation. Could this slow the builder down?

Qualifications and memberships give a good indication of professionalism. E.g. Guild of Master Craftsmen builders, CORGI registered plumbers, NECEIC approved electricians.

With the building trades you really do get what you pay for, so avoid the temptation to cut corners.

Peter Ryder

Managing Director

Thorntons Property

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