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8 Simple Steps to Find a Trusted Builder For Your Home

Home renovations and extension projects can be both exciting and overwhelming. Finding the right builder for your home project is crucial to ensure that your vision becomes a reality, and with so many trades and builders to choose from, it can be a daunting task to find the right one.

In this blog, our experienced kitchen designers share 8 simple steps to help you choose a trusted builder for your home renovation.

 

1. Research

The first step in choosing a builder is to conduct thorough research. The key is to look for builders and architects who specialise in home renovation and extension projects like yours. Check out their websites and social channels, read their reviews, and browse through their portfolio to see if you like their work.

When researching, it’s good to look for renovations in your area and contact the builders and clients involved in the project. Good builders will often display site boards with contact details, which indicates their pride in their work and willingness to engage with potential clients. If the builder is working with a neighbour and you feel comfortable reaching out to them, it’s an excellent opportunity to ask them what they think of the builder’s work. You may even be able to look around the site to get a feel for the building work.

2. Recommendations

Doing your own research is a good start, but you can’t put a price on a solid recommendation from a friend, family member, or colleague who has had similar work done on their home. Failing a personal recommendation, you can also seek guidance from other trusted professionals. Ask your architect, structural engineer, or interior designer; the odds are they have a network or trade professionals they trust, and we know we do.

At KCA, the recommendation is at the heart of our business. We are proud to say that 80% of our work is repeat or recommendation, so we know the value, hard work and dedication required to maintain a good reputation.


Key Questions To Ask at the Early Stage of Choosing a Builder

  1. Ask for their full name, best contact number and company address.
  2. What experience do you have? Find out how long they’ve been in the industry and the type of work they have done.
  3. What testimonials and references do they have from previous clients and suppliers?
  4. Are you a member of any trade association, are you insured? Ask for proof of where they can supply it.
  5. Ask them about their process, how they work and their pricing structure, including any guarantees.
  6. Ask about their current availability?

3. Accreditation

Ensure the builder you choose is accredited and has the necessary licenses and insurance. Accreditation indicates that the builder is qualified, experienced, and adheres to industry standards. Some building contractors are members of a trade body or guild, and it is possible to find a builder through these organisations. Builders that belong to a trade body or guild have a degree of credibility, as membership requires credit and quality control checks. For example, builders that belong to the Federation of Master Builders offer insurance-backed guarantees, standard contracts and a dispute arbitration process.

A few organisations to explore:

  1. Federation of Master Builders
  2. TrustMark
  3. National Federation of Builders
  4. The Guild of Master Craftsman

Although organisations offering arbitration offer a level of protection, you are required to work within their policy. If you have a conflict with your original builder, you may need to accept them back to finish the work, and you won’t know if the builder will be required to complete the job until the case is resolved.

4. Experience

Choose a builder with proven experience in home renovation and extension projects. Experienced builders are better equipped to handle unexpected challenges during the project. A trusted builder who has been in the business for a long time will have a strong network of reliable tradespeople they work with regularly, along with supplier connections that could help you save money on your project. At KCA, if you have a builder attached to your project, we can save you money.

5. Communication

When choosing a builder for your renovation or extension, you must arrange a meeting in person. By meeting in person, the builder can understand what the job involves, you can ask them any questions about experience etc., and you can get a feel for their communication style and confidence in the job.

When choosing a builder for your renovation, finding a builder that communicates well and is easy to work with is essential. A good builder can interpret your vision and suggest what you can and cannot achieve. A good builder will guide you through the building process, from reviewing your drawings and tender documents to giving you a detailed quote, construction program and plan. Lastly, a good builder should update you with the project time frame and budget.

6. Costs & Quotes

When costing your project, a builder or contractor will calculate how much a renovation or extension project will cost in labour and materials. They will also add the subcontractor costs for specialist trades such as electricians and plumbers and any site set-up fees such as scaffolding, permits, etc. Traditionally a builder on a renovation or extension project will then add their management time, referred to as cost-plus or open basis. Cost-plus or open basis is usually a markup of between 15 – 20 per cent for managing the project. Management fees are standard practice but require that you choose a trustworthy and reputable builder who won’t overcharge on labour or materials and keeps within your project timeline.

“When choosing a builder for your project, it’s good practice to get at least three quotes to compare.”

To ensure that the quotes you request include all the necessary details, you should supply as much information as possible, including a complete set of plans and construction drawings and your list of materials, finishes, fixtures, and fixings. When instructing the quote, you want a detailed breakdown of each cost, ensuring allowances, provisional sums, labour costs, material costs, management fees and site set-up cost figures are accounted for. The more detail you get in the quote, the easier it will be to compare on a like-for-like basis.

When choosing your builder from your quotes, it’s essential that you are confident in your research, you’ve got your references, and you’ve done your homework on the builder. Remember, if a single quote is much lower, it might be too good to be true!

7. Timeline

Remember, when you’ve found your builder, it’s usually a good sign when they can’t start straight away, as a decent builder will have a backlog of work and require reasonable notice. Trust that if you’ve done your research, a good builder will be worth the wait and will save you in the long run.

8. Check the Builder’s References

Before you appoint your builder, the final step is to follow up on their references. Contact the clients and ask following up questions to get a good idea of the builder and their work quality.

Some questions you may like to ask are:

  1. What were the builders like to work with?
  2. What was the quality of their work? Was it completed to a satisfactory standard?
  3. Were there any obstacles to overcome during the project?
  4. Was the project completed on time and within budget?
  5. Were they organised, tidy and respectful on-site?
  6. Would they use them again?


Finding the right builder for your renovation or extension project requires careful research, consideration, and detail. By following these simple tips and trusting your instincts you can confidently find your builder and set about creating your dream home.

Are you looking for a kitchen specialist for your extension or renovation?

KCA is a family-run, independent kitchen and fitted furniture company based in Berkshire. 

As experts to the trade, we have worked with builders for over 30 years and understand the construction process inside and out. Unlike other companies, we take care of the whole process from design to installation, and work closely with our clients builders to take the stress away and ensure the project runs smoothly.

For award-winning designs and stress free service, choose KCA. Book a free design consultation today.

BOOK YOUR FREE DESIGN CONSULTATION >

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