1. If you can, ask builders who have been recommended by people you know who were happy with the work.
2. If you dont know anyone personally, then start with the fmb (federation of master builders), who have a searchable database of builders who have been vetted and approved.
3. Have all your information ready, building regulation approved drawings, and a full specification of the work you want carrying out. The more detail you provide the less provisional sums you will end up with in the quote. (provisional sums are sums of money allocated to a portion of work, where full detail hasn't been provided).
4. Be wary of anyone who is available at short notice, good tradesmen get booked up months in advance.
5. Ask the builder you are considering to show you a recent job they have completed or are currently working on, ask to speak to their previous clients.
6. Make sure you like them! Daft as this sounds, they are going to be working in your home for potentially months, a good rapport is essential to get through what can be a stressful time for the householder.
7. Make sure the quote is detailed and broken down into sections. This is essential when things change from the plan, as both parties need a basis to recalculate costs.
8. Remember even quotes that appear identical on paper don't always translate into identical quality of finish, which is why is essential to inspect a previous job they have recently completed.
9. Beware the 'cheap' quote, quality work takes time and is not cheap, your home is probably your most valuable asset, is it worth the risk of going for the cheapest price?
10. Vat, its a good sign if the builder is VAT registered, it means they turn over more than 85k per year, and it's likely they will be trading in the long term, so able to offer you a quality supporting role after the build is complete should anything need attention.
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