WORKING WITH A BUILDER
Many people go straight to a builder when they decide to carry out a project on their own homes, only to find out that the initial quote changes considerably as the project progresses. This often leads to tense relationships between the builder and client as the builder has to make lots of changes to a design that wasn’t very well thought out before work started and the client has to face the inevitable increases in costs. To ensure you project progresses smoothly and costs stay in control there are a number of things that you should do before any building work begins.
1.Get a proper set of drawings
Having a good set of architectural drawings will mean that your design will be properly considered by a professional and will reduce the chance of costly changes throughout the build stage. It will also mean that your builder will be able to quote against something tangible. If accompanied by a schedule of works this will provide the builder with all the relevant information that they will need to provide an accurate quote. It will also mean that you will be able to compare quotes from different builders as they will all be quoting to the same exact guidelines. If you don’t have a good set of drawings and schedule of works you will probably get large differences in the quote prices as different builders include and exclude certain elements from their quotes.
2.Select a builder carefully
Try to select a builder through recommendation so that you can see the type of work they have carried out before. Your architect will be able to carry out this process for you but if you are planning to do this yourself ask around and try to use builders who have proven to carry out good quality work. If you don’t have any recommendations make sure you check the references of your builder and view some of their completed projects.
3.Put in place a proper contract
Again this is something that your architect will be able to deal with on your behalf but if you are doing this yourself make sure you do put a contract in place that details the project scope, costs, payment schedules, deadlines and any late completion penalties if relevant. Unless you have this contract you will have nothing to refer to if a problem does occur once the project is underway. A good contract to use if you are not using an architect to manage this stage of your project is a JCT 05 Building contract for a home owner/occupier who has not appointed a consultant to oversee the work HO/B: Revised 2009.
4.Stay on good terms
Keeping the lines of communication open with your builder is essential for a good relationship. There will be unforeseen problems that arise during the course of a project and it is key to work with your builder to get these problems resolved. If your architect is managing the build phase for you this will be less of an issue as the builder and architect will work through any issues together as they arise and find a satisfactory solution. However if you are managing this process yourself try to remember to keep a calm head and remain on good terms with your builder as this will achieve the best possible outcome for you and your project.
If you would like to discuss your project with Urbane Design please call us on 0208 966 0601.