Have you ever been the victim of a cowboy contractor, or otherwise regretting your choice after hiring someone? It’s not uncommon. After all, how are you supposed to know until you work with them? Hopefully next time you will have some idea, because we have a few potential answers to that question.
Perhaps the number one piece of advice we can give you is to never settle on the first price you hear. There is really nothing to lose by shopping around and asking a few similar firms for price estimates. Although a low estimate doesn’t mean everything, you can judge the best value once you do a little more research into them.
Find personal recommendations
It is one thing to read reviews online, but even from independent sources you can’t be sure how they originated. If you know someone who can vouch for a builder or other tradesperson, ideally after a similar project to your own, you should trust them.
Look locally first
Although you may be able to come to a good agreement with someone who doesn’t live in your area, it’s probably going to be less costly for both parties if the contractor doesn’t have to travel far. They will probably be travelling to and from your property at least once a day for the duration of the project, so this clearly adds up.
Check their qualifications and experience
Obviously professional people in any trade will need certain qualifications to confirm they can work on your property safely, especially with gas or electricity supply work. Check these and make sure they have at least a few years’ experience when it’s a major job. It’s likely that someone who’s never worked on a project like yours before will end up costing you more, even if they don’t plan to deliberately.
Agree a timescale
It’s not advisable to work with only a rough estimate for any project. If it seems too complex to predict, that means you simply haven’t planned in enough detail yet. It’s important to have a start date and completion date pencilled in.
Have it all in writing
Of course, agreements are meaningless if they’re only verbal in this situation. The only way to really ensure you’re going to get what you pay for one way or the other is to have a professionally written contract covering every aspect of your agreement. If the contractor really plans to deliver, they shouldn’t have any problem agreeing to reasonable terms.
Building work can be a challenging experience that needs to be carefully evaluated before the process begins. A properly formulated planning process comprised of well-defined steps and procedures is necessary in this case to alleviate stress and save money as well as time. They will also help in evading problems with builders, contractors or plumbers. “Everything needs to be covered, from the initial planning stages and appropriate permissions right through to assuring UK plumbing and heating safety standards are met and maintained in your property,” advised Bedford & Milton Keynes’ Gasteam Plumbing and Heating. “With these simple steps, you will be definitely on your way to gaining confidence in your upcoming building project and getting everything off to a great start.”
1. Consider whether permissions or approvals are necessary
There are two types of approvals you to consider, building regulation approval and planning permission. A building regulation approval is applicable for minor renovations such as windows and doors. There is no need to apply for this approval if you have a contractor belonging to a competent person scheme. If the contractor is not registered, you might have to submit full plans with an application.
Planning permission is only applicable if you want to build something new that significantly changes your property, for example an extension or an additional building. These projects can affect the value of your own home as well as other peoples’ and the surrounding environment, which is why planning applications are taken seriously and failing to meet your agreed plans can result in severe penalties.
2. Finding builders and contractors
Whoever you hire, they must be good at their job. The best way is to seek recommendations and references. It is also vital you do a proper check on things such as a contractor’s membership to an approved scheme. Ask for proof of qualifications just to be sure. It is a prudent thing to ensure you have a variety of contractors and builders to enable you compare and choose the best.
3. Get a quote
Get a written quote from at least three contractors and compare them before deciding. The quote must have a fixed total price, validity period, and breakdown of the work to be done. Once you agree to the quote, it becomes a binding agreement between you and the contractor. You can make references to it in case of a dispute.