How to Choose a Builder

How to Choose a Builder

If you have decided to build your own house then you will need to find and select a builder. This article will help you find the right home builder for your house.

Home builders can be tough to deal with, especially if you have no knowledge or background in the construction industry. In most cases, clients who lack knowledge about the industry are more likely to be ripped off by some opportunistic home builders or suffer long delays.

Below we have listed tips to help you choose the perfect home builder and strategies to help you to speed up the selection process.

1. The first thing you need to do in selecting the right candidate is to list all the home builders around your area. Use the internet, local papers and ask your friends and anyone who has had building work done recently.

2. The next step is to collect more information about the prospective home builders in the list. You can easily do this by searching for information about each home builder. If they are a company you will be able to find out information about them from companies house, check all their returns and accounts have been submitted online and who the company Directors are. You can search by Directo name and check if they are involved with any other companies. Search the internet for online reviews and look at the company website to see if you can identify recent or current projects. Every builder should provide you with references but they will obviously only put you in contact with happy customers. See if you can identify their recent jobs and so you can ask their previous clients about their performance or experience with the particular home builder. Checking for licenses and certifications is also a good idea as it can guarantee accountability and responsibility. Ask if they are members of any trade bodies and check that they are actually registered with who they said they were. It is also vital you check that they are insured (public liability insurance) – if there is an accident on your land and a builder or member of the public is injured you need to make sure the builder has liability cover. After getting all the necessary information and weighing them according to your needs, eliminate those who fail to reach your standards and decide on a few finalists.

3. The third step after deciding on the final list of home builders is to visit and have consultations with each of the finalists. Explain the designs and structures you want in your home. State your estimated budget and desired schedule of completion. If the finalists are specialist in some way or a luxury home builder, then expect to pay a premium for their services. All the plans and designs for your house must be discussed with each of the finalists. Ask for comments and suggestions during this process as they are the true experts in the field. A good sign that a home builder is reliable and trustworthy is that if they criticise your designs for being too over the top, inconsistent or impossible. They also have to suggest possible remedies to unrealistic designs that will enhance and improve your house. Open and good communication is a must in an owner-builder relationship. They should also be able to discuss your planned schedule and tell you if it realistic, what delays are possible and why (difficult material, weather etc). You should also establish how many workers they have and how many other jobs they have on at the same time as yours – is it realistic that they will able to do all their work to the agreed schedule? Do they need to use subcontractors and if so how many, for which bits of the work. Are the subcontractors any good? Each finalist should be able to provide a detailed quote not just a single figure. This should allow you to talk through each cost major cost element and understand where there are possible variations and how likely it is to cost more. You can then agree which cost changes will be your responsibility and which the builder has to bear. If a builder is much cheaper than everyone else or seems able to do the job much faster than everyone else be wary. Some builders take this approach so you select them and then they add on price increases and delay the build.

4. The fourth and final step is to decide on the home builder that will construct your house. In deciding on the home builder, consider all the things mentioned in the three steps above. Agree to a payment schedule in writing and don’t pay too much upfront. Payments to the builder should only be made at specific completion steps in the build so the builder has an incentive to finish the job to your timetable.

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