Builders: How do I choose? |
Your choice in builders, whether they're independent or commercial, is probably the most important decision you'll make when constructing or remodelling your home or office. Working with the right people can be the difference between a job which comes in on time and budget, as opposed to a job which tests both your wallet and your patience. Whether you decide to go with a big multi-national company or an independent one from down the road, the information in this article should help you make the right decision.
What should I look for when choosing a builder?
In any field, good companies build a strong word-of-mouth reputation. This is especially true amongst the construction industry.
Make sure that you read testimonials where possible and ask to speak to former clients.
Ask former clients if their final costs matched their initial quote.
Find out about the ease of the process from the customer's point of view. A good builder will make a project easy and often fun. A client's happiness and overall should always be a builder's number one priority with any project or job he is undertaking.
Ask former clients whether their projects were completed on time. If a customer reports delays, find out whether the problem could've been avoided by the builder or not. Delays are too expected, but they shouldn't ever be down to the builder.
Ask former clients about the quality of the work completed. Attention to detail and a superior level of craftsmanship are critical in these areas. You want to make sure the aesthetics of all work completed are up to your standards.
A builder's experience in your type of project should be a high factor when deciding who to choose. Try and find out how long the firm has been in business. What sort of projects they typically take on? How many of these projects can they complete in the average year? How should I go about finding the right builder for me?
There are many different ways you can go about choosing a builder. I would recommend that you start by asking a friend for recommendations. Perhaps they've recently had some work done. Even if their choice was a bad one, it'll help you know who to avoid.
You could also try and look at houses or buildings that you find appealing. Perhaps try and do some research on the particular building and find out which company built it, or had a part of its construction.
The Internet is going to be one of your best bets in terms of vast opportunities. There are several firms that have got themselves on the Internet and each one is going to try and sell you their service. I would recommend that you do some research on the ones you like, perhaps do a comparison for the budget and time scale. The best business will also be able to answer any questions that you might have about their work.
How should I evaluate my estimate/budget when choosing a builder?
In any project, cost is a critical factor. However, a company's original estimate does not tell the entire story. You will have to expect delays, unaccounted-for costs and inefficiency which may inflate your project well beyond the original estimate.
Compare proposals for thoroughness as well as price. Most builders are going to be honest and professional with you. However, while it's unfortunate, it's also true that there are a lot of builders out there who will submit a fake, low, bid in order to score the job. Avoid potential cost overruns by looking carefully as the scope of what is covered in each estimate you gather.
Make sure that you ask questions about the structure of the building team. Will there be a project manager on site from start to finish, each and every day? If not, they why not? What level of office support is available to assist in the project? As a client, how much control and input should I expect to have during the project?
All of it. You should expect to have full control and input with your project, through every single stage of development. Clients should never be in the dark about the progress of a company's work and should be given full information about the range of their choices available to them.
Make sure that you ask any builder or firm, that you decide to work with, detailed questions about client control and input. If they seem put off or uncomfortable by these questions, keep looking. A good builder will always be happy to get their client involved with their work. If you can, ask former clients and find out if they were satisfied with the level of customer input with their projects.
What should I expect in terms of communication with my builder?
Your builder should be pro-active when it comes down to communicating with you. It's not enough for a company to be responsive to your questions; you should expect that full information is made available before you even have to ask for it. They should be constantly concerned with how comfortable you are with progress.
Make sure to ask how a prospective builder will communicate with you and how often. Get as much information and specification as you can before starting any projects with anyone.
What should I expect from my builder once he's finished the project?
All good builders will want to stay around after they've completed their work in case there are any additional requests you have in time to come. Whatever your concern or request is, you should always expect the same level of service that you experience whilst your project was in full motion.
Your checklist for choosing a builder:
You should be able to answer the following questions with an enthusiastic yes regarding the builder or firm that you have decided upon.
Does this builder have an excellent reputation with former clients?
Do former clients say that this builder brought projects in on-time and on-budget?
Are this builder's former clients satisfied with quality of work carried out on their project?
Is this builders estimate a thorough and realistic proposal?
Will this builder have a dedicated team to efficiently manage any expectations you may have?
Does the builder have a proven system for client communication in place?
Will I have a collaborative relationship with the builder where any of my concerns and suggestions are welcome throughout the project?
For former clients say that this builder is committed to customer satisfaction even after a project is finished?
I hope that this article has been helpful towards you. It can be a daunting task to choose a builder, but hopefully this article will make the process a lot easier for you.
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