One of the things that a lot of people worry about with any new build project is finding the right professionals to help see the project through. In this guide we walk you through who you might need to hire and how to find great people to help.
Who might you need to help with your new build?
When it comes to who’s actually going to do the majority of the work coordinating and actually doing your project, you have a few decent options.
Builder: Usually an owner run firm with a crew of guys who work for them full time, representing a reliable and often cheaper option. Many people prefer to use a local builder as they feel they get continuity and reliability from known individuals who are the same as worked on other projects. The downside is that the good ones are often highly in demand, so be prepared to wait for them to be available.
Contractor: Often a general construction professional or project manager who sub-contracts the actual work to specialists, fast but not necessarily the cheapest option. A good contractor will support every aspect of your new build project and have a broad enough range of good quality sub-contractor contacts to ensure a great finish, on time. The downside is that they don’t necessarily have the depth of knowledge about the technicalities of the build.
Design & Build: A blended firm where you get architect style design support plus professional builder in one neat, highly collaborative package. This option allows for faster resolution of issues on site and a really joined up approach to making the design work for the build and vice versa, so less chance you’ll end up mediating between two stakeholders during the project. The challenge of this approach is anyone can set themselves up as a design and build firm, especially as the term gets traction and becomes the trend of the minute. When you hire an architect, you know they’ve got the correct qualifications.
Individual tradespeople: If you have a lot of time and knowledge to play with, or perhaps this isn’t your first rodeo, you might consider constructing your own crew of specialist tradespeople. The advantage of this route is you get to pick the very best person for each job, the downside is a lot more responsibility and work for you as the onus will be on you to project manage and ensure quality of work.
How can I find someone I can trust?
There are a number of routes to finding a good partner in your new build project and it is advisable to pursue a couple of them to get a selection of names and look for correlations. If more than one source points to someone being a good name in the local area, it’s more likely to be true.
- A recommendation from someone you trust who has had similar work done is a great place to start, as they have no reason not to tell you the truth about their experience.
- Look at reputation sites like rated People and CheckATrade for firms with consistently excellent reviews.
- Look for credibility indicators like their membership of The Federation of Master Builders, the National Federation of Builders, or the Guild of Builders and Contractors. Also, the government Trustmark is a good sign.
- Ask your architect, building inspector or structural engineer who they’d recommend.
- Book a consultation with Vario by VELUX Daylight Design Experts and they will guide you towards a firm with the right competencies in our trusted partner network, no matter whether you are looking for an architect, a general builder or other specific professions for your build.
How do I vet them once I’ve found them?
Once you’ve found someone with a good reputation, you need to do your own due diligence before you hire them. This involves at a minimum:
- Check Their Insurance: Whichever type of company you’re looking at (builder, contractor, design & build, tradesmen) they should all be able to provide evidence of their current construction insurance policies showing cover for “all risks”.
- Ask For Fixed Prices & Timings: A decent builder or equivalent should ask for enough information to give you a fixed price and timeline for the job. Anyone looking to quote their day rate with no commitment as to how quickly things will move should be looked at with suspicion. If you can get a formal contract for the work, so much the better, especially on a project of this size.
- Ask For References: Any firm worth their salt will have a selection of clients for whom they have undertaken similar new build projects and be comfortable with you talking to a selection of those people in advance of hiring them.
- Check Payment Terms: Wherever possible you should always avoid paying money up front, but it is reasonable to agree to a payment schedule based on different phases of the project completing.
- Check Pricing: If someone gives you a “too good to be true” quotation, it probably is and you may well find they’re the kind of company who pitches cheap to win the work and then makes up the shortfall with extra charges during the build, often to the tune of more than the more expensive quotes you received in the first place.
- Check VAT Registration: Any company undertaking a project of this size would have to be VAT registered and should be able to supply you with their number so you can check it’s legitimate. They should also provide VAT receipts for every aspect of the job.
- Ask For A Warranty: On a project of this size and importance, you want to know you have the right to have anything significantly wrong with the work rectified, even if it is only discovered after the build completes. A builder who offers a warranty up front is one who’s confident that their work will measure up and no such recourse will be necessary.
Ready to start dreaming in daylight for your new build? Or just want a few names of professionals to start your search for the right builder? Talk to one of our Daylight Design Experts today.
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