How to workwith builders on a refurbishment project

How to work with builders on a refurbishment project

When you undertake a refurbishment project one of the most important things is knowing how to work with the builder

There are enough things that can go wrong without falling out with your builder

What do you need to do before work starts?

There are a lot of steps that have to be undertaken before work starts

First of all you have to find a builder

Time needs to be taken with this process

You cant just pick a builder on first impressions

And you should be looking for the best builder not a cheap builder

A cheap quote is not necessarily a good one

When you meet builders they are sizing you up to see if you are a competent client

They are trying to gauge if you will be easy to work with or will be a constant headache

Everyone says good builders are hard to find, is that true?

A common complaint is that people can’t find good builders

But good builders are easy to find if you prepare properly

It all starts at the tender stage

When you invite builders to tender for a job, give them as much information as possible

At the very least give them a detailed specification document, a programme of works and an idea of your budget

It always pays to be honest with the builder about your budget

And you have to understand that the builder needs to make a profit on any job

So when they return with a quote remember he is quoting for the whole job

Don’t try to pick and mix from his quote

And don’t try and barter him down on the price

This isn’t the marketplace where he goes high, you go low and you meet in the middle

The builder is a professional and a businessman so treat him like one

What do you do after you have found a builder you want to work with?

Once you have decided on your builder the next step is to decide on what contract you will use

Remember contracts shouldn’t be one sided they should be fair to both parties

Whatever your obligations are make sure you stick to them

Agree clear payment terms before the work starts

And make sure you pay on time. There is nothing that will cause bad feeling more than late payments

Have everything ready for the builder when you say you will

You need to be giving him all drawings, technical details and designs before the job starts

You might decide the job is too much for you and you are going to hire a project manager

In that case you will have to decide how to work with a project manager

But if its just you and the builder then you are in it together until the end of the job

He is not going to appreciate it if you are checking up on him all the time

Agree times when you will make site visits and stick to them

Don’t just turn up unannounced

And try to schedule site visits when it wont interrupt the work

If you have agreed to supply certain items make sure you stay on top of deliveries

Be ready to take his advice

What if you change your mind once work has started?

If you decide to change your mind halfway through be prepared for the chaos this can cause

It can add delays and costs to the project and lead to margin creep

If it adds more cost to the project don’t expect your builder to absorb this

Make sure before you start that you have an agreed mechanism in place to deal with variation orders or extra’s

If its your decisions that have caused delays you cant say my builder is no good

Make sure you have given your builder the right set of drawings

He will have the ones you sent him at the tender stage. But if there are any revisions it’s your responsibility to pass them on to him

Above all try and work with him not against him

And remember he is not a mind reader. If you see something that you don’t like then say something. Don’t automatically expect him to know what you want

If you need any advice with planning or running a project please contact us

We offer a wide range of services  to help people complete a successful project


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