10 questions to ask your builder before they start.

Hiring a builder or contractor to carry out renovation, restoration or building work for you can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be. Here are our top ten questions to ask your builder, BEFORE they start.

  1. Is there a warranty?

When you are spending a lot of money on a project and the work will be yours to live with for the next 10+ years you want to make sure it will last. The expectation will be for high quality work with longevity but even the highest quality work could have an unforeseen issue in the future. All work carried out by KT5 Construction offers a 12-month warranty, this level of reassurance is priceless. You wouldn’t but a new car without a warranty.

  1. What happens if something goes wrong?

So, while we are on the subject of needing a warranty, what if something goes wrong whilst the work is being carried out, and a mistake is made or one of the contractors becomes ill and cannot work.  Life happens to everyone and whilst we all want to start a project looking at the positives it is important to ask what will happen if there is an issue that crops up.

The answer you want is that they have a back up plan, the reassurance that there is something in place if things don’t go to plan. The best firms will be honest and transparent and should have no problem communicating any issues along the way, or letting you know if anything changes.

  1. Is there a central point of contact?

It can be frustrating if you cannot get hold of the builder who is meant to be arriving or perhaps you need to change the time you meet them onsite or you want to discuss the tiles you picked out. Having a central point of contact ensures you have one person who knows what is going on and can relay any messages to the rest of the team.

  1. Can I have an itemised quote and plans in writing please?

You should always be supplied with a detailed quote itemising each part of the work and its associated cost. Anyone who won’t put things in writing should be avoided.

  1. Are you VAT registered?

Please see our VAT blog  for details on VAT and who should be paying it as some new builds are exempt. But in general, the companies who have a turnover of £85k will be registered for VAT. If they aren’t, then ask them why not, if a small firm with a small turnover is taking on a large project for you, it may be their first and they may be out of their depth.

  1. How long will the work take?

Having a reasonable and transparent timescale is so important, your contractor should know how long each part will take and will have contingencies if anything runs over. They should also be willing to communicate any changes to you as you go along.

  1. When is full payment required?

This should be agreed before any work is started. For example, At KT5, at the time of agreeing to work together we require a 10% to 15% deposit, and both parties agree a payment schedule with dates or stages, so that you can budget during the build.

  1. How big is your team?

You need a whole house renovated and it is going to take 3 months….the builder you employ is a two man band and you just know he is always taking on other projects. One of them breaks an ankle playing football at the weekend…works stops for weeks until they try and find a replacement…worst case scenario it’s months. Don’t get yourself in this situation. Establish that the company has not only the experience you need but a big enough team and access to more if and when needed.

  1. Can I speak to a previous customer/get references?

If the answer is no, simply walk away. There is no good reason they would have to refuse this. Seeing a builder’s previous work to ensure the quality is high and the customer was happy is invaluable, whatever the size of your project, but especially for larger ventures.

  1. Do I need planning permission?

Sometimes the world of planning permission can be fraught with complications, so checking whether you need it is essential. Any good construction firm will know what does and doesn’t need planning approval and will help you with the process. Please see our blog on the help we can offer, as we do this for free <insert link>


So, there you have it, ten great starter questions to help you find the right builder. Price is an important part of the process when choosing but please make sure you take into consideration everything else. A cheaper quote may mean you are sacrificing a warranty, backup plan, experience or quality, and a lack of those can cost more in the long run.


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