Home Improvement Projects – Be Prepared to Wait for a Professional Builder

If you’re a home owner considering a refurbishment or other type of building work, then you’re sure to want to get the job gets done by a reputable building company.  There are many ways of checking out building firms – you can look at online reviews to begin with, ask around friends and family for recommendations (you’re sure to know plenty of people who’ve had to hire a building company to do work on their homes) and look at the building companies listed in your local business pages.  However, if you’re on the lookout for a building company, you’d better get your skates on as recent research carried out by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has revealed that you’re likely to have a four month wait when it comes to hiring the services of a good builder!

The key statistics that resulted from the research show that:

·         More than 40% of builders need at least four months’ notice from home owners who want to hire them.

·         90% of builders revealed that the majority of property owners don’t ask for a written contract before work begins.

·         80% of builders divulged that most customers don’t ask for an agreed payment schedule.

·         Fewer than 10% of builders claim their clients usually ask to see their insurance policies, such as public liability or employer’s liability insurance.

According to the Federation, demand for building work is particularly strong right now and there’s no shortage of work for most building firms.  In fact, their workloads have been increasing steadily over the past few years so if you’re in the market for a home improvement project, you may have quite a wait before work can begin.

If a builder is free to start work immediately, this should be seen as a warning sign.  The waiting list for builders puts home owners at risk of hiring a dodgy “cowboy” builder if they’re in a hurry to get the work done as quickly as possible.  So many would-be clients end up approaching a building company that can begin the job immediately, but this is a risky approach.

According to FMB’s Chief Executive, Brian Berry, home owners should start looking for a builder in advance of when they want the project to begin to ensure that there’s plenty of time to find the right company to do the job.  Berry also advises that home owners are vulnerable to problems in terms of how they approach their proposed project.  Failing to ask for references and a written contract is a huge mistake when it comes to building work.  Critical issues such as key warranties on the work and materials, checking a builder’s accreditation and agreeing on a payment schedule are essential issues.  These add a layer of protection for the home owner and will help to identify the dodgy types of builders that should be avoided at all costs. 

If you’re planning a home improvement project of any type, be prepared to wait until a professional builder can fit it in and use the waiting time to do due diligence, making sure that the company you hire for your project will get the job done without leaving behind a host of problems.