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How to choose a building contractor for your project – the 5 most important factors!

With so many contractors or building companies available for home improvement projects, choosing the right one can be a minefield. That’s why London and Birmingham extension specialists Simply Extend have collated a checklist of 5 important things to remember when choosing the right professionals for any building project.

Simply Extend have years of experience in the trade, which gives them a unique insight into the needs of the customer.  This means that they’re perfectly positioned to help customers choose the right contractor. So what should homeowners look for? And what should they avoid? It’s all listed, right here, below:

1. Don’t Go for the Cheapest Quote

Simply Extend advise that customers get at least three quotes for their building project and don’t just pick the cheapest; as tempting as it often is.

The most established building firms, who deliver the best work year on year, will price their work to roughly similar levels. If these costs are coming in above your budget, you may not have enough money for the project.

It is advisable to wait until your budget can accommodate quality building work, or de-scope your plans to bring down the cost.

Never choose a builder because they fit your budget! Some contractors will offer to work within whatever budget they are provided with. But this can lead to poor quality of work, or worse, an unfinished project which builders leave when the money runs out.

2. Always Check Their References

Often, builders come recommended by family or friends. When this is not the case it is important to speak to somebody who has used the contractor that you are considering before. 

Make an effort to visit at least one of the business’ completed projects. But be very wary of ‘Open Days’ or contractors who insist on being there when you get the reference. 

This reference should be as open and honest as possible. Simply Extend regularly provide contact details for potential customers to follow up for themselves.

3. Choose Clear and Fixed Prices

When reviewing quotes, look out for provisional costs that could be added to during a project and alter the price considerably. Sometimes items must be accounted for which no one will know about until the project is underway, but it is important to gain as good an idea as possible of the cost of the project.

It is advisable to ask contractors how they price their work. Many use a formula such as price per square metre. Ensure that there is the provision for such an item within your budget before contracting the project.

Simply Extend have simple, straightforward pricing structures and transparent terms and conditions. Customers receive a fixed price and a breakdown of what they will receive for the cost.  Never sign up for a building project that is based on an estimate as this will often lead to unforeseen costs!

4. Choose Design as Well as Building Work

A number of building contractors can manage the entirety of a project, including the design phase. Choosing this kind of company can make life much easier.

Simply Extend provide an all in one design and build service, which includes a team of architects who draw up professional plans, take care of any planning permission and then hand the project over to the Simply construction team. No outside contractors are required.

5. Choose Insurance and Guarantees

The builder that any customer chooses should have an insurance policy, which covers three important elements:

  • Employers Liability
  • Public/Products Liability
  • Contractors ALL Risk

When many builders say that they are fully insured, they’re actually referring to the first two elements only. In effect, this means that people and items are covered, but not the house and the actual physical space. 

The third element is the most expensive and the most important of all. When you’re looking for a builder, this could ultimately be the most important factor.