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Our Do's and Donts help page, Please Read this!

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:01 pm    Post subject: Our Do's and Donts help page, Please Read this!  Reply with quote
Builders have had rotten press recently. With TV shows and celebrities giving them a bad name, the truth is, for every cowboy, there are plenty of professional builders who offer great service. And it's up to you as 'project manager' - for in most cases, that's what you are - to ensure that you get the results you want. Here's some do's and don'ts to guide you
Check them out
Before you begin, ask potential builders for references from previous customers, ask to visit a previous job and see his workmanship.
A good builder will provide you with credentials and references, so try to visit previous jobs similar to your own. If the builder is a member of a trade association, what does this mean? If they claim to be a member, check to ensure that they really are member. An impressive-looking logo won't repair a leaking new roof! Find out more about their credentials before going ahead.
Get it in writing
Clarity is the key and a contract drawn up before work begins is essential. Agree on the timetable, too. Any changes agreed throughout the job should be put in writing.
...Know your regulations
Be aware of any legal requirements you must fulfil when having major improvements done. Remember, this is not up to the builder and you should seek the advice of a qualified surveyor or architect. Planning permission is sometimes a lengthy and complicated process, but a surveyor or your local Planning Office will point you in the right direction.
Keep talking! If you're not sure what is being done, ask. Make sure you fully understand every step and don't let jargon put you off. A professional builder should explain things clearly to ensure that there are no unpleasant surprises!
...Be realistic
Builders aren't mind-readers, so if you have a particular idea of a finished project, show them visuals - magazine cuttings, books, brochures - anything that will ensure you and they are thinking along the same lines.
...Be honest
If your financial situation changes mid-works, talk to your builder, he can suggest ways of trimming the expense without cutting on quality.
...Pay cash up-front
Be wary of the cash cowboys. A reputable builder will work on a contractual basis, and you should avoid anyone who offers you a 'cheap' deal for cash-in-hand. Don't try and dodge paying VAT, that'll probably put you in the hands of the rogues.
...Go above their heads
Talk to the 'main man' only. Telling sub-contractors to change things mid-construction will not only cause problems within the team but confuse everyone as to what it is you really want.
Decide on what you want from the outset and try to stick to it. Changing plans mid-flow
is sometimes necessary, but if you keep changing your mind about what you want, you'll confuse everyone; it'll lead to extra unbudgeted costs and probably cause a delay in getting the job finished.
...Stay silent.
If you're unhappy about any area of work, talk to your builder about it. Most things can be amended before they are finished, so don't wait until it's done, then sulk!
...Ignore your budget
Be realistic about what you can afford and tell your builder at the start. He can then help you fulfil your home-improvement needs and fit in with your financial constraints too.
Anyone who is looking for a builder will find the yourlocaltrades website, www.yourlocaltrades.co.uk a good place to start. It offers a "quotation" service with access to tradespeople and an ideal starting point for anyone looking for the best builders in their area.

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