Choosing the right builder or architect for your loft conversion or extension will help ensure you get exactly what you want out of the building works and also minimise the risk of any problems during the works or after completion.
Check their reputation
Before committing yourself to a builder or architect, check out whether they have a good reputation. If they were recommended to you by a friend then you can be reasonably sure they will do a good job for you too. If not ask to see photos of previous work and find out whether they can refer to you to some of their previous customers to see how their conversions turned out and find out what kind of experience they had.
You can also do some research online to find out if anyone recommends (or has complained about) the builder or architect you’re considering using. Take a look at Which? Trusted Traders to see whether the builder you’ve chosen has their seal of approval. They check and assess service providers who operate in a local area of your choosing and you can read reviews by previous customers.
Choosing a builder or architect who has done previous loft conversions or extension in your areas means that they will be familiar with the requirements of your local authority regarding planning permission and Building Regulations control. Find out what their approval rate is for submitted approvals and you could even have a chat with local building control surveyors about them.
Ensure they understand your requirements
Before signing any contracts, it’s important that you know exactly what you want and expect from the conversion or extension, and that you have communicated this properly to your potential builder. If you’re not quite sure what you want then it’s unlikely that they’d be able to give you a set quote and making changes further down the line could lead to problems.
Let them know what your budget range is and check what is and isn’t included in their quote. If planning permission and Building Regulation approval is required, find out whether they will secure this on your behalf and whether this is included in the quote.
The builder or architect should visit the property in order to make sure they understand what is going to be involved in the building work. If they are quoting based on your description of what you want without seeing the property it’s unlikely that the quote will be accurate.
It can be helpful to get more than one quote, but beware of choosing on price alone. The last thing you want is a builder cutting corners in order to offer you the cheapest quote. A builder or architect who offers realistic pricing from the start is also less likely to try and add on extra costs further down the line.
Check the builders credentials
Like most industries, there are professional bodies that ensure their members are of a high standard, for example the FMB, the Federation of Master Builders.
It’s also prudent to check your builder has the correct insurances in place to protect you in case there are any issues during or even after the work has been completed.
Any reputable builder will be more than happy to share this information with you, if they don’t, then stay well away.
Sign a contract
Once you have chosen your builder or architect and agreed the scope of work and the budget, a contract should be signed by both parties agreeing these details as well as payment terms. Having it in writing will ensure that they don’t spring any nasty surprises on you further along in the project.
Find out why Cox Format has such a good reputation with our previous customers and how we ensure that all our projects meet all the relevant safety standards and get the necessary approvals and permissions.Read More