Choosing a Builder
A builder will initially use the plans and details prepared by
your agent to give a quotation for the work. On site, the plans and
details are used to ensure that the finished project is as you
imagined and that it complies with the Building Regulations.
Try and get quotes from at least three different builders and
try to get personal recommendations from friends and neighbours. If
possible arrange to view previous work they have undertaken. Be
suspicious of anyone offering a cheap deal for cash.
Use the JCT (Join Contracts Tribunal) Building Contract for
homeowner /occupier to confirm your agreement with a builder. For a
minimal charge the contract confirms the precise arrangements for
the work to be done and sets out simply and clearly what is
expected from you and your builder.
The Office of Fair Trading has seven Golden Rules, which
1. Before you start - decide exactly what you want done. For
larger jobs, consider getting advice from an architect or
2. Council approval - ask your Local Authority whether you need
planning permission or building regulations approval.
3. Shop around, don’t be rushed - fet estimates or quotations in
writing from at least two companies.
4. The company - find out as much as you can about the company.
Can it cope with the job? If in doubt, get a second opinion.
5. Your contract - make sure your contract is in writing and
gives full details of prices, cancellation rights, guarantees and
when the work will be started and finished. Check whether any
sub-contractors are to be used and who is liable if things go
6. Payment - be careful about parting with money in advance,
especially if you are asked to pay large deposits. Always query any
price increases and ask why they were not included in the original
7. If you have a problem - act quickly and get advice from the
Council’s Trading Standards Section (or Consumer Protection)
Department, Citizen’s Advice Bureau or Consumer Advice Centre.
Further information on the
Competent Persons Scheme is available here.