- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 11 Oct 2018
Builders for home improvements
When contemplating home improvement in the form of home extension or refurbishment, looking for and choosing a building contractor can be a very stressful and daunting prospect. To ensure this does not become more worrying than necessary there are a number of factors to consider.
With what is often considered a large outlay for individuals, our expectations of a builder not only extend to their capability to complete the work in a high-quality and timely manner, but we want to employ a professional that is trustworthy, adaptable, friendly and most importantly genuine. These goals are achievable and on a budget that is acceptable.
A good builder will be happy to provide references for previous work completed; they should have a wealth of trade experience and will be happy for you to ask questions about this. Some builders will provide you with the opportunity to view their work, so that you are able to inspect their standard of finishes and speak with the property owners about their experiences with the company.
To satisfy both parties' requirements, detailed written quotes should be provided once the builder has completed a visit to your property. This will enable them to complete the work precisely and accurately to your requirements and will cover all of the information you discussed. Should you then get multiple quotations, this will also provide you with an accurate comparison.
Reputable builders are likely to be busy. You should be in a position to wait several weeks before work commences. Any builder will be willing to discuss possible start dates with you at the initial quotation.
Professional builders will want to agree a price prior to beginning work. All aspects and expectations of payment breakdowns should be listed on the written quotation provided. Any agreed alterations during the working process should be formally agreed within the document and it should be updated to reflect all agreed additional works and costing.
There are building organisations regulating the standards and workmanship of individual Companies. They must abide by codes of practice and offer reassurance and security that customers are using a professional company. Each organisation or association will be able to verify the details of any individual Company within their membership with ease.
Seek recommendations from friends of family. Choose a builder with a good website, supporting and offering information about their previous work completed and details of how to initiate and maintain contact throughout the scheduled work.
The cheapest quotation may not necessarily be the best; making an educated decision
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
How not to upset the planners.
CEEQUAL International and how it works.
Communities across England are being encouraged to nominate heritage assets.
Access control in buildings.
MASTRO project – lifecycle costing and assessment.
Five things to consider before installing solar panels.
New conservation building for the Louvre completed.
A balance between character and climate.
Bamboo pavilion built at London South Bank Uni.
Bringing in an expert.
Why the lowest price isn't sustainable.