Here at Glebe Construction, we are huge believers in being as transparent as possible with all our clients throughout the whole process. Therefore, we have put together some advice that you should take into consideration whenever you are choosing a company to undertake any kind of work for you.
We simply treat you how we’d like to be treat ourselves if we were having work undertaken our own property.
A few things to ask your contractor…
How long has the company been in business?
You can check with HMRC (for a sole trader), or Customs and Excise (if VAT registered); or look them up at Companies House. If they are not formally registered for tax purposes this may ring alarm bells.
Do they have a permanent business address?
Verify this address independently once you have it from them – if it isn’t easy to trace or identify, then treat them with caution.
Don’t be scared to grill your contractor either….
First and foremost check out the builder’s ‘quality’ and by that we don’t just mean looking at pretty pictures.
- Ask your potential new contractor if you are able to go meet with some of his past clients, your contractor should have many a happy past customer willing to speak with you.
- Check out their attention to detail and the ﬁnishes they have achieved on their projects.
- Ask them about their workforce- How large is it? Are they directly employed?
What experience is there within the team?
- Check out their ability to offer alternative solutions. Give examples of when a change in direction on site has occurred (as it inevitably happens)- How did they work with it?
Do they have the knowledge to be ﬂexible in approach? How would that then affect costs?
We are not just hinting at whether your potential new contractor is capable of getting his team to site every day, what you really need to know is how they intend to manage your project. Some people choose to employ the Architect as the ‘Project Administrator’ while others choose to work directly with the builder, cutting out this fee. This is when you really should consider how your potential builder intends to manage your project.
Questions to consider:
- How does he ensure builds are completed on time?
- Do they have a method by which this is achieved?
- How is this measured?
- What happens if the build is potentially going to run over?
- How would that affect your project?
Now we understand that us builder types often get lumbered with many stereotypes but please rest assured that most of us are intelligent, skilled chaps and most of the time we are able to hold an intelligent conversation- who knew! That said good communication with your potential contractor is absolutely paramount.
- You should consider how you feel when speaking with your builder/ project manager.
- Do you feel conﬁdent in his/ her abilities, knowledge, skills?
- Are they open and honest?
- Are they straight about money from the start? Can they achieve what you need for the budget you have?
This could potentially also be classed as communication, but we felt it so important that we gave it it’s own sub heading!
In Transparency we believe you should consider the following:
- How is the quotation delivered to you?
- How much information is shared with you?
- Can you understand the information given to you?
- Do you have the opportunity to discuss the quotation with your potential contractor?
Are they willing to dissect the tender with you and allow you to compare ‘apples for apples’? Avoid any hidden surprises- in the form of ‘Extras’.
- Can they assist you with understanding the drawings and how the costs allocated match up?
- Are they able to pass on their cost savings by recommendation to various suppliers? Ie: kitchen suppliers, bathroom suppliers, tile merchants etc.
Can they assist you with understanding the drawings and the costs of your project in a way that you understand and are satisfied with?
We hope that you find this little bit of information helpful. We’re always here for a chat, pop down to our offices for a cuppa or pick up the phone. We hope to hear from you soon.