Finding the right building is something akin to stepping into a minefield. Domestic customers are unlikely to use builders on a regular basis, so finding a reliable builder who’s going to provide the exact standard of work that you require can become a bit of a nightmare.
So, where do you start? Well, one great place to start is by reading these tips that should help you to kick off the process of finding the right builder for your project.
 There’s no better endorsement than word-of-mouth – with building, there’s an end product and a process that goes towards establishing that product. Ask your friends and family for information about building companies that they may have used. Ask them how happy were they about what the builder did for them, and how smoothly the entire process went.
 Get references – if you’ve narrowed your builder search down to one or two companies, then ask for references. Not only that, check up on the references to make sure that they are legitimate.
 Avoid special deals such as ‘VAT free’ – if a builder is looking for sweeteners such as cash-in-hand, then that should set alarm bells ringing. A builder who’s interested in dodging the correct procedures is unlikely to be someone you’ll feel comfortable with.
 Get things down on paper – don’t agree costs with the shake of a hand. Get the payment terms written down officially, and signed by both parties.
 Nothing is guaranteed – large scale jobs should come with a guarantee from the building company. New builds need to be guaranteed. If your potential builders refuse to provide a guarantee, then look elsewhere.
 Insurance! – your builder should be insured against property damage and both personal and public liability. If your potential builder is not, then again, look elsewhere.
 Don’t pay for labour upfront – your builder will probably ask you to make a pre-payment for building materials, which is fine, but they should not ask you to make a payment in advance for labour.
 Obtain detailed quotations – you can often syphon the dodgy builders out from the legitimate ones by obtaining detailed quotations. As a rule of thumb, the more detailed the quotation, the better the builder, to some extent. Builders who seem to pluck a random figure out of the air are best avoided.
 Check affiliations – even though it is an offence for builders to claim they are a member of a trade association, many of them do. The reasoning is that members of the public will not bother to check whether such affiliations are legitimate. If your builder ‘comes with badges’ then check they are legitimate ones.
 Make sure your builder knows what you want – your contract needs to outline all that is to be done, the expected dates of start and completion, all costs, hours of work and the cleaning up and the disposal of all waste once the job has been completed.