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[Top»] Builders

There are not many trades more highlighted in the news than builders, whether it’s bad publicity or good. Builders are usually more open to criticism than most other trades. This is probably due to the scope of work they carry out – most of their work is usually done outside and more often that not, they usually are the ones that create the most upset, usually because the builders are the first port of call for any major extensions, conversions or major garden work. Only by understanding the work involved in these projects can we fully appreciate the builder and what they do

It’s no surprise therefore, that less and less of our children enter into the building industry and the shortage of skilled workers means that job opportunities and earning potentials for those who choose a career in the construction industry has never been better. We have to education our children and society to understand the role of the builder, to show that all builders are not ‘cowboys’ and that infact, they have some of the strictest legislation to follow.

[Top»] Is it best to choose a builder who belongs to a trade association?

Whether you are employing a builder to lay a few flags to form a patio area for the summer or a team of contractors to build you that extra bedroom or living space, it’s always best to ask your friends for reputable, reliable and professional tradesmen. Most, but not all of these builders will belong to a trade organisation, such as The Federation of Master Builders or be NHBC (The National House Building Council) Registered as sometimes it can prove costly to a one man band and they may or may not achieve trade memberships criteria. This does not necessarily mean that they cannot carry out the work you want them to do, quite the contrary, a single builder, may make a fantastic job of your patio or new garage and may simply not meet the remaining criteria of such membership, which may entail passing independent financial and credit checks and they may also have to be vat registered. With so much publicity in the news, regarding cowboy builders and the fact that the consumer must stay away from those builders who are not vat registered, some of the smaller firms are losing business. Some smaller builders may simply keep their turnover particularly low and under the current vat threshold, due to the extra accounting work that it brings and these builders should by no means be put into the same category as rogue trader.

Unfortunately though, bad publicity does exist about employing rogue builders and it’s always reassuring when a builder has gone that extra mile and become a member of a government backed body, such as Trustmark or Federation of Master Builders MasterBond Warranty Scheme and we must promote these services or memberships for the reason they were created.

Decision2day encourages each consumer to assess their requirements and each project individually and make their own decision as to which builder to use. We would suggest that you meet each builder or company you ask to quote for the work, look at all the quotations and prices, check out how long they have been in business and speak to their previous customers to help you make the right decision.

[Top»] What can I expect from my builder?

By following decision2days tips on choosing the right tradesman you should be confident that you have found the right tradesperson for your home improvement project and we encourage you to keep a clear line of communication with them during your project at all times. The more you talk with your builder and explain your ideas, clearly and accurately, any confusion with your project will be limited.

From the onset of your project you need to have a clear understanding of your requirements – after all if you don’t know what you want, how can your builder know? You may not be familiar with all the building regulations but a good builder will be able to discuss these with you. Some firms may even manage the whole project for you, allowing you to be free from the stresses of having the builders in. This is always an option to think about, especially if you are planning a major project – it’s always easy to think that co-ordinating the works is simple, but it can be thwarted with problems and upset. Obviously, smaller projects like laying a patio can be overviewed by yourself and fitted in amongst your daily activities.

Your builder should go through each stage with you and make sure you are happy with his plans and timescales. We have all seen 60 minute makeover on T.V, where they literally transform a whole house, but don’t expect your builder to do the equivalent. Certain projects take time and especially those that may have to take in account the weather or planning approval. However at the time you normally appoint your chosen builder, all major building works have received appropriate planning permission and unless there is a change to the initial designs, work should be able to progress smoothly and with limited interruption. However, as most building work involves working outside, the weather can play a part in any initial timescales given by the builder. As there is nothing worse than waiting for someone to turn up and they don’t, why not ask you builder to let you know as soon as he can if he cannot attend your home. That way you will prevent any unnecessary bad feeling.

Please do not underestimate the amount of upset that having the builders in will bring. Even the most simplest of projects can upset a happy household. Find out what hours your builder will be working, will he need to use your bathroom facilities and equally as important, will he take his rubbish with him when he leaves. As the concept of decision2day is about offering rated tradesmen to the consumer, we encourage the consumer to clarify all points. As individuals in general, we really believe in our first impressions and also in our last and far too many successful projects that have been completed professionally, are of a high standard and which have also been completed on time, can result in the consumer being left with a nasty taste in their mouth, if they are left with the builders rubble left in their drive or the skip still being in their garden, two weeks after the builder has gone away. To prevent comments like…….” work completed to a high standard, always turned up when they said they would, but was left with skip on my drive for a week”… we suggest you confirm with the builder that they remove all traces that building work took place, apart from the work you contracted them to do in the first place.

[Top»] Do I need a Builder - can I do the work myself?

Of course you can, well some of it, anyway. How much depends on the extent of the work to be done, how much knowledge you have of building techniques and such things as building code requirements; and the three "T"s: Time, Talent and Tools. If your home needs only cosmetic or modest structural improvements to make it new again, chances are you can do the work yourself. The more extensive, skilled or dangerous the job, however, the more likely it is that you'll need professional help to see you through it.