You can’t flick through the channels on TV these days without stumbling across something negative about builders. Cowboy builders appear to be everywhere, and everyone is getting ripped off. Well, that’s not true, clearly it is a biased view as shows about disasters are more watchable. There are plenty of great building firms about, but it is true there are less scrupulous people out there waiting to take your money, so how do people get ripped off? Here are six of the reasons, and they might just help you become more savvy when selecting your next builder.
Common mistakes made when choosing a builder
- Don’t get a quote in writing
You talk to a guy, who tuts and umms and ahhs then promises his best price, even less than what he charged John down the road, but don’t tell him. Taps his nose, just between us. I’ll sort this out. Before you know it there’s nothing in writing. He is in your house knee deep in rubble and the price is going up as various problems have ‘cropped up’ that aren’t his fault…
Don’t fall into this trap. Get it in writing. If it seems too good to be true it probably is. Get a range of quotes and take into consideration more than just price. You want the costs to be trackable and you should know the real cost of materials etc.
- Don’t check references before starting
You got a quote in writing, the references all sounded amazing, you even saw a couple of beautiful photos. Brilliant, you are all set for the work to start. Then it takes a week or two longer, then a month, it doesn’t look that great, the guy disappears before it’s finished…You look again at the references and ring a number, it doesn’t exist. Or Google an address they said was renovated by them, it turns out it was another builder.
Do some due diligence and check out the references and testimonials. No one will be offended, a good builder will be more than happy for you to see what a great job he’s done elsewhere. If they are reticent or something seems wrong, then find someone else.
- Take on a builder who has no experience with that specific type of work
Everyone has a speciality. Ensure that the firm you hire can, and has done recently, the work you require. Some firms may want to take on any and everything, this isn’t a good sign. An experienced contractor will give you honest feedback about the best course of action and if they are the right builder for you.
- Builder takes on too much and cannot complete on time
Large projects need experienced firms that are used to dealing with the logistics of a big build. A smaller firm may feel they can just scale up but in reality this can be recipe for disaster and they just may not have the capacity to deal with all the work.
Also, builders are notorious for overcommitting and trying to do your job and half a dozen others at the same time. Make sure who you choose is committed to your project and will be dedicated to completing it on time. At KT5 Construction we pride ourselves on time management and communication. Throughout the project we will update our customers on when their project will be finished, our company ethos is “On Time & On Budget”. This is a reasonable expectation to have from whoever you hire.
- Unclear brief to start with
The devil is in the detail. As a layman it is understandable you won’t know all the technical terms or perhaps what is even required on a job, but be clear in what you are expecting as a finished product. Use vision and mood boards to make it clear what style and finish you require. The builder can work on their part but don’t assume they know what you are imagining in your head. Asking questions as you go along can save a lot of problems later.
At KT5 we take time with our clients during the tender and procurement stage to make sure the small details are thought of and dealt with, making the build process easier.
- Communication is poor between client and builder
Usually one of the biggest problems is lack of communication. You can’t get hold of the builder, the plasterer didn’t turn up, the weather is bad, and you don’t know if they’re coming today, the schedule is falling behind, and you don’t know why.
Make sure there is a central point of contact and don’t be afraid to chase them up and ask questions. You are paying for a service and you deserve to be kept in the loop.
These ‘traps’ are all easily avoided and with a little thought and time you can find a great builder and have a wonderfully finished renovation or restoration, whatever the case may be. At KT5 construction we are dedicated to putting a new face on building and showing that there is room for honest and transparency in this business alongside high-quality and experienced building work.
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