It is important to remember where builders come from
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It is important to remember where builders come from!
Often, people are in the building trade because:
Someone in their family was also in the same trade.
They enjoy working with their hands (note we didn't say are good at working with their hands) and this may be because when they were at school they lacked confidence with reading, writing, maths, etc.
No other industry that we know of allows you to set up the next day and call yourself a builder.
They had Lego or Meccano, or some other brick type game when they were children (be very careful what you buy your children as presents!).
Where do clients come from!
They are normally people that
• Don't understand property and the building industry because they don't have any friends or family in that industry.
• They didn't enjoy working with their hands and were good at reading, writing, maths, etc, at school.
• They have a well paid job and have the means to employ someone to do the jobs that are not so nice in life.
• They didn't have Lego, Meccano, etc, as presents!
So, you can see there is an immediate difference between a builder and a client and that is why it is so important to communicate clearly.
Communication is everything
Whatever size the job is, particularly smaller jobs (we can't really give an amount because what some people consider a lot of money other people consider a small amount of money), you will need to communicate.
You will need to prepare a list of what you require doing. This is known as a schedule of works.
Photographs are always very good, as you can show the kind of thing that you have seen that you would like doing, or finding articles in magazines, etc.
Ask the builder for an itemized list and repeat this process with two or three builders.
Compare the different quotes and also the end prices and make sure the builders are pricing like for like or in a similar manner. If one price is half the price of the other builder's prices then it is likely they are not pricing for the same thing! Look at the two or three quotes and identify the items that are priced differently and then phone the builder and ask him about adding these items on or taking them away, whichever way you are dealing with the process.
If you want specific things, such as specialist items, e.g. the lime mortar repointing of your bricks, or you have an expensive shower that you want fitting, advise them and remind them and advise them and remind them again; communication is the key.
For larger building projects we would recommend you use a building professional, such as a building surveyor. Again, you need to communicate with them. It is worth looking at the sort of background a building surveyor has.
They usually will have had family friends or something to do with the building industry.
They will normally have enjoyed working with their hands and been reasonably good at reading, writing and maths.
They would have worked out quite early on in life that they wanted a variety of work and didn't want to just be stuck on one job for a long period of time and that they could earn more money advising people in relation to building work.
They probably had Lego and Meccano, etc, and watched Bob the Builder!
Communication again is the key for all jobs of over £25,000. From your list of works a brief will be developed.
This will be produced into a schedule of works.
Scaled drawings will be produced to get Local Authority approval for planning and building regulations and tenders will be obtained from various builders that they probably know and have had a working relationship with.
Terms and conditions will be issued that are very specific to the standards required.
It is very important to agree the communication system when the builders are on site and stick to it, i.e. if it agreed that all communication will be via, what is known as, a supervising officer (a building surveyor) then don't keep asking the builder to do bits and pieces, otherwise you will get a long list of extras.
Remember, when the builder is appointed, you, your building surveyor and the builder are all part of a team, working to get the project finished. In our experience as working as a supervising officer there will be some disagreements whilst the work commences, but these shouldn't get out of proportion and normally with building work there is several solutions, depending upon how much money you want to pay and how much time you have, but they can usually be worked round.
The last thing that you, the client, want is for the builder to walk away from the building work, as any builder coming on to the job will charge a premium. They will think you are a very awkward customer from day one. Therefore, make sure that you can live with the builder that has been chosen and that you can live with the professional adviser that you have chosen, however many weeks the project is meant to go on for (we would always recommend adding a few more weeks).
Fingers crossed, and many cups of tea, biscuits and bacon sandwiches and everything should go well!
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If you need help and advise with regard to structural surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects reports, dilapidations home buyers reports or any other property matter please call 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat. Please note we are independent surveyors.
We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have included is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).
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