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How to select your home extension builder

During the Building regulations submission you don't really want to waste time waiting for the approval.  Use the draft construction scheme drawings and specifications that your designer or architect has prepared and start approaching between 3 and 5 builders for prices in a competitive tender format. 

However, your first problem is which building companies do you approach and how do your select them?  If you have used an experienced and professional home extension designer or architect, the chances are they will have a whole list of suitable local builders that you can approach built up over many years.

The last thing you should be doing is blinding going through a  directory picking names at random. It has been our experience that building a list of home extension builders to approach to price your new home extension is usually a matter of using a combination of recommendations from your own sources via friends and colleagues and recommended sources or contacts from your home extension designer.  Between you can normally build a suitable tender list of between 3 and 5.

A good guide for selecting any builder is to do some of your own due diligence work comprising of:-

1 - Have they been trading under the same name or company for at least 10 years.

2 - Do they have a proven track record of completing home extension schemes such as your own.

3 - Do the belong to a recognised trade organisation that has a vetting process prior to inclusion. (the federation of Master Builders FMB is a good one).

4 - Do they carry adequate insurance cover.

5 - Do they have adequate resources.

6 - Can they provide a list of some previous jobs completed in the last 2 years for viewing of their quality of work and can you approach these home owners to ask for a reference.

7 - How do they operate - one job at a time or do they juggle many jobs at once.

8 - Who will be your dedicated site agent and will they be on site day to day running and working on the job.

The above 6 points are a good start but may not be all inclusive in what you could be asking.

Please remember that most building companies that work on home extensions are usually sole traders or small limited companies operating from home or a very small yard.  Most labour and trades are sub-contracted which is very normal.  Only the larger building companies have dedicated full time labour with offices and larger yards.  Even this size of operation will not have all the trades required ready to hand on a PAYE basis.

In  my view a good builder is one that can handle the administration, schedule the works correctly for materials and labour, be forward thinking and pro-active with the client, and actively monitor and control the quality of the build as it proceeds.

Hopefully, by the time your home extension designer or architect has received the Building Regulations Approval, you will have received a few builders prices.



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