House Beautiful (UK) - - Home Advice -

If you’re plan­ning a ren­o­va­tion, be pre­pared to wait for a good builder, says Brian Berry, chief exec of the Fed­er­a­tion of Mas­ter Builders (FMB). ‘Con­tact a builder at least four months be­fore the project is due to be­gin,’ he says. ‘Good trades­men are in short sup­ply; be wary of any­one who can start work to­mor­row!’

Here are his tips:

• Check ref­er­ences – Brian says most clients fail to ask for them or to see ex­am­ples of pre­vi­ous projects. Ask for­mer clients about stan­dards, time­keep­ing, re­li­a­bil­ity and at­ti­tude.

• Agree terms – No rep­utable builder will ask for the full cost up­front. Use a writ­ten con­tract and agree a plan of a de­posit and staged pay­ments.

• Check in­sur­ance – Fewer than one in 10 builders say clients re­quest to see vi­tal in­sur­ance poli­cies such as pub­lic li­a­bil­ity or em­ployer’s li­a­bil­ity, but all rep­utable con­trac­tors should come with th­ese as stan­dard. • Keep talk­ing – Make sure you and your builder can com­mu­ni­cate eas­ily. Most prob­lems are down to poor com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween builder and client but can be solved over a chat and cup of tea.

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