Questions To Ask a Builder When Building a House

Buying a pre-built home is different from having a new construction, extension or remodelling. You want to find the best builder to undertake your project, and we all know how daunting this can be. Eliminating the ‘cowboys’ who will most probably end up doing a shoddy job or even worse, getting away with your money is very crucial. We shall have a look at some of the important questions you should ask and what you need to know before hiring a builder.

What questions to ask a builder when building a new home

Below are some of the questions that you should ask when you want to build a new home. By asking these, you will easily determine their credibility and how qualified they are to undertake the project. Whether it's a new home, an extension, or remodelling, these are essential questions that a builder should be capable of answering.

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Do you have any recommendations or references?

Before hiring a builder, it is good to know whether they have any previous projects to showcase. Do they have any photos showing their previous projects or the kind of work they do? If they have a website, what are the kind of reviews they get from clients?

Knowing whether their previous clients would recommend them or their work is also essential. By looking at what other people say and think of the service, you will be able to determine whether their work is legitimate.

Have you done a similar project before?

You need to know whether the builder has successfully completed similar projects before is also paramount. How familiar are they with the nature of the project? For how long have they been in the practice?

Be it remodelling, construction work or an extension, reviewing their previous successfully completed projects is a great way of familiarising with their level of expertise. This will help you analyse their skills and know if they are capable of delivering the expected outcome.

Who will you be working with on this project?

Sometimes, some companies may use subcontractors in some of their projects. It is essential to know who they work with, if they’re approved and also if their skills will aid the successful completion of the project. Their level of qualification will also be crucial in knowing what they’re bringing to the table.

Knowing who will be in charge of the builders, organising the workforce, inspecting the quality of the work and liaising with the architect is important. Will there be a project manager to inform you of the daily progress? This is essential especially if you have other commitments or if there is a need for an important decision to be made.

Do you have any insurance?

You should make sure that your builder is fully insured before giving them the job. All companies should at least have public liability insurance. If they also have the employers liability or product liability insurance, the better. Your contractor should be able to provide you with tangible evidence of the certificates.

You should also inquire if they have any safety procedures that they follow while working. Professional contractors should have measures put in place in case anything does go wrong. They should adhere to any health and safety laws applicable.

If your builder is also a member of a trade body such as the FMB or NHBC, they should also let you know. It is important that you hire someone who complies with all the trade standards. If they cannot provide any of the above, then you should reconsider your decision to hire them.

Is the price you’re giving me an estimate or a quotation?

Your contractor should clarify with ease whether the budget or pricing their giving you is an estimate or a quotation. With an estimate, it is susceptible to change at any point of the project. For a quotation, the price is more specific. Here, they do indicate the things that are likely to change and under what circumstances.

The contractor should also give you a full quotation in writing. It will be easier for you to keep track of all the costs covered, including materials cost, waste removal cost and the likes all the time. You should also inquire whether landscaping cost is included.

What is the estimated duration of the project?

Knowing the estimated timespan of a project is another important thing. As much as the contractor might not give you the exact time, they should at least give a rough estimate of how long the project is likely to take. They should also be able to break down the details while explaining so you can understand.

There should be a schedule of works outlining the construction schedule. Having an idea of what activities are taking place at a certain time is crucial. The building company should also tell you if there are any measures to be implemented in case of missed deadlines. They should be accountable for every activity along the way.

How will you deal with any effect of the construction on me and my neighbours?

If it’s an extension or remodelling project, there is a high possibility that there will be disruptions for both you and your neighbours. Your builder should be considerate enough to have a way to minimise any disruptions as the work continues. This includes keeping dust and noise levels to a minimum.

The construction company should also be capable of dealing with any effect the construction activities might have on neighbouring structures. Waste management is yet another essential thing to consider. How are they planning on disposing or handling the waste on the site? Will they clean the site every day and what measures do they have to ensure the protection of your property?

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Do you have any warranty for your services or the materials you use?

If there are any problems that might occur post-completion, does the builder provide a plan to take care of them? Every professional builder should have measures put in place should there be any arising issues. The warranty should also have a reasonable timeline.

The contractor should tell you what the warranty covers and the period of its validity. It might include a short-term whole house warranty or a longer structural warranty. Your builder should be able to cover you for at least the first few years. The warranty should clearly state what guarantee it has for the customers.

Do you know the documents I'll need before commencing my project?

Before commencing any building work there are several essential documents that you might need from the local authorities. Some of these include applying for building permits and adhering to the building regulations.

If you haven’t acquired the necessary documents, it’s advisable to consult with your contractor to show you the way forward or the local authority. This may help you avoid any problems amidst the construction.

Do you have an office or a permanent base?

Considering the fact that you will be entrusting a substantial amount of money, it would be good to know and see your builder's permanent base or office. You do not want to hand your money to someone who works from a garage or shed.

Your contractor should also give you their full contact details and address. This will be important if you need any help, information or clarifications from them.

These are just but some of the questions to ask your potential builder before giving them the job. Always make sure that you see the documentation or certificates instead of only relying on word of mouth. You should feel free to ask any questions you may be having in mind. The right builder should not shy away from any of the enquiries.

Do builders have to be VAT registered?

It is advisable that you should consider having a VAT registered builder. Contractors have to be VAT registered as it ensures that they do not avoid their tax obligation. If the builder has a turnover that is below the threshold then this means they do not do much work. You should really question their capability of successfully completing your project.

You should beware of the fact that a VAT-free deal could mean that your builder is evading his taxes. This should right away be a red-flag that you shouldn’t ignore. The company should be big enough to manage the successful completion of the project.

It should also be possible for you to have a valid written contract that clearly states everything including the amount paid and means of payment. Avoid any builder that encourages cash payments. You might need the proof of payment at some point and when paying cash there won’t be any.

As high end custom home builders, we always make sure to adhere to any set building regulations and legal requirements. With the craftsmanship of our team of architects, engineers, builders, trades and interior designers, we always ensure that every project we undertake is finished to the highest standards

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What should I look for in a builder?

Before deciding on the builder you want to work with, there are several things that you should consider. Most of the times, it is difficult to find the most suitable building company that matches your requirements. Below are some of the things you should look out for:

  • Professionalism - Do they comply with all the regulations of the industry?
  • Honesty - Your builder should be a trustworthy person?
  • Recommendations - Does he have any recommendations for his work from previous customers?
  • Commitment - Are they willing to complete the project within the set timeframe?
  • Quality - Are they capable of delivering high-quality results?
  • Communication - Communicating freely with your builder shouldn’t be a challenge
  • Experience level - For how long have they been working?
  • Certifications - Are they part of a trade body? Do they have any insurance?

What should I consider when building an extension?

Before building a house or an extension, there are several things you should put onto consideration when choosing your builder. Most of them are similar to the points listed above. These include the contractors level of expertise, quality of their work, their certifications, and previous successfully completed projects and customer feedback among others.

You should also consider if the builder has insurance, in the event that something may go wrong. Public liability insurance would also be good. It is also good to know the time it will take to complete the work. Before embarking on any construction activities, it is crucial to check that you have all the relevant documentation and permits that may be needed.

How long should it take to get a quote from a builder?

Most of the time, it takes at least a week before a contractor can give you a quotation. It is essential to make sure that everything in the quote is as discussed or agreed. The quotation they provide should also be written clearly to avoid any misunderstandings.

If you are comparing between several builders, it is important that you take your time to check all the costs that they provide. When looking at the costs, it doesn’t mean that you should always go for the cheapest quotation you receive. Looking at the quality of work done by each of the builders will help you decide whom you should hire.

Always make sure that your contractors can break down the quotation into detail making it easy for your understanding. From the cost of the materials, property to construction costs. With some, the starting date might be different from the day you get your quote depending on how many bookings they have. It is crucial that your contractor tells you the date he is likely to start working on the project.

From what has been discussed, we see some of the things you should consider when looking for a custom home builder. There are also several essential questions to ask before you decide to give builders the job. A competent contractor should answer the questions with utmost honesty. The questions help in evaluating the potential builders for new house as well as their credibility.

Some of the questions to ask include the insurance cover for the business, cost of materials, type of building materials used, years of experience, years of practise and safety precautions among others. It is also crucial that the contractor uses a qualified architect for the project.

Asking each and every question you may have is essential because you will get the answer for each. You will also be able to have a better understanding of the project. Before closing the deal, it is crucial that you make sure everything stated in the contract is crystal clear to you. This will help in avoiding any type of misunderstanding that may arise along the way.

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At Proficiency Bespoke we have a single level of service – exceptional. Everything we do is individually tailored to ensure that your house is somewhere you’ll truly be proud to call home. To find out more about what we do and how we do it, or to book an appointment with one of our team to discuss your project, simply…

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