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How to find a good builder

There are thousands of builders in the UK, but you want to find the right person for the job. In this guide, we look at how to find a good builder in your area, so that you hire someone you can rely on.

There are thousands of builders in the UK, but you want to find the right person for the job. In this guide, we look at how to find a good builder in your area, so that you hire someone you can rely on.

Each construction job is unique, so you want to make sure you find a reliable builder with the right experience and know-how to get the job done to a high standard. Though, be prepared to wait for the best builders in your area – the good ones are usually busy, but nearly always worth waiting for.

Wondering, how do I find a reliable builder? Keep reading to find out more.

6 top tips for how to find a good builder in your area

Nobody wants to hire a cowboy builder. We’ve all heard the nightmare stories, so let’s help you avoid that and instead answer the question: how do I find a reliable builder?

1. Ask friends and family for recommendations

The best way to find good builders in your area that you can rely on to do a good job is to ask your friends, family and neighbours. Speak to people you know and ask if they have worked with any good builders. By getting recommendations you’ll have a first-hand account of the level of service and professionalism by someone you trust. Another great way to see unbiased recommendations is by looking at a builder’s reviews section on their Checkatrade profile. This way you can see all elements of their previous projects.

2. Ask other tradespeople for recommendations

Reliable tradespeople like to work with other reliable tradespeople so, if you’ve worked with other tradespeople who’ve done a great job for you, ask them to recommend good builders in your area. Chances are they’ll be more than happy to recommend builders for the job.

3. Search online reviews and ratings

Nowadays it’s easy to see reviews and ratings for builders in your area. Use the Checkatrade search to find local builders and check out their profiles to see customer ratings. You can even use our handy request a quote tool. Simply post details about the job you want doing and we’ll send it out to local builders in your area.

4. Choose a builder with local experience

Builders reviewing plans of a house on siteHiring a builder with experience working in your local area can save you a lot of time and hassle. Local builders will have a working knowledge of local planning permission, they’ll know local suppliers and tradespeople and will want to do a good job to build more business locally.

5. Create a shortlist and interview your favourites

Very often you’ll be hiring a builder for a pretty big job, so you want to make sure you’re confident in who you’re hiring. Once you’ve done your research finding recommendations and other local builders you think could be right for your project, pick your favourite 2 or 3 and organise to meet them in person.

Face-to-face meetings will allow you to get a feel for the builder, their experience, and how well you get on – after all, you want to hire a builder who’s approachable, open, and honest. It’s also smart to ask to visit one of their current job sites so you can see the quality of their work.

6. Speak to previous customers

When you’ve narrowed down your choice to the builder you might want to hire, ask for references from previous customers – and follow up with them. Get in touch with them to ask about how the job went, were they happy with how everything went, and would they work with the builder again.

How to find a good builder for an extension

If you’re specifically looking to hire a builder to carry out work building an extension on your home, you’ll want them to have lots of experience working on extension projects. Find out more in our guide on how to choose a builder for an extension.

How to find a good home builder

When it comes to building a home from scratch, the challenges of finding the right builder are a little different. For smaller projects, there are fewer moving parts, whereas building a home involves a lot of project management.

Here are our top tips for finding a good home builder:

  • Choose a builder with a lot of experience building homes so that you know you’re in good hands.
  • Ask to view homes they’ve built from scratch in your area to see the quality of their work in person.
  • Check the Home Builders Federation (HBF) annual customer survey results to see which builders came up trumps recently.
  • Question them about the after-sales service to ensure you’re hiring a builder that will provide excellent service should any issues arise once your home is built.
  • Always ask for customer references and follow up on them to get a good feel for how the builder works and the level of service you can expect.
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What questions should I ask a builder?

It’s a good idea to ask lots of questions before hiring a builder. You want to make sure you’re hiring the right tradesperson, so prepare a list of questions to help you understand more about the builder and how they work.

Customers speaking to a builder How do I choose a good builder? Here are some useful questions you might want to ask to help you make a decision and answer that question:

  • How many years have you been in the business?
  • Have you done many building jobs like this before?
  • How many homes/extensions/conversions have you done before?
  • Can you organise for me to visit current or previous projects you’ve worked on?
  • Do you offer a warranty for your work?
  • Can you provide me with references from previous customers?
  • Do you have the relevant insurance policies and provide valid certificates?
  • When and how can I make changes or upgrades throughout the building process?
  • Do all decisions need to be finalised before construction begins?
  • Will this project be affected by any supplies or labour shortages?
  • What are the energy-saving and eco-friendly features can you offer for the project?
  • Who will be overseeing the project on a day-to-day basis?
  • How long will it take to complete the work?
  • How do you deal with challenges to stay on schedule during construction?
  • How and when will the final cost be determined, and what are the payment terms?
  • Can you provide me with a sample contract, budget, schedule and warranty?

How much does a builder cost?

The average cost of a builder will depend massively on the size and scope of the work you need doing. A typical builder’s day rate can range from £150 – £280 per day. But you also might want to consider the cost of bricklayers, labourers, scaffolders and roofers. To find out more, check out our guide to builder day rates.

The average cost to build a house is around £1,400 – £3,000 per m2, and the cost of an extension can range from £25,000 – £110,000+.

FAQs

How can I find a reliable builder?

The best way to find a reliable builder is to:

  1. Ask for recommendations from friends and family or other reliable tradespeople
  2. Check reviews and ratings online
  3. Look for builders with experience in your area
  4. Shortlist your favourites and interview them in person
  5. Ask lots of questions relevant to your project
  6. Follow up on customer references
  7. Hire the builder that gives you the most confidence in them

How do you trust a builder?

The best way to find a builder that you trust is to look at recommendations from people you know but also their reviews on Checkatrade. You can also check their qualifications and accreditations with the relevant awarding bodies and trade associations. You’ll also want to look at customer reviews, ratings, references, and examples of previous work.

Finally, we always recommend meeting potential builders in person before hiring them to make sure you have a good rapport and get a good feeling about their experience and ability to do the job.

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