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Reliable and trustworthy. These are traits people look for when choosing an Edinburgh builder. But, how do you know that they are? Do they deliver value for money? Will they still be around to finish the job they start? Recently, Mackenzie Hughes, Edinburgh builder and period home restoration specialists, have come across a few horror stories about clients being left in the lurch. One in particular, involved a homeowner who had employed a builder to add a home extension. Halfway through the job the builder failed to turn up. It turns out his business had gone under and with it, the remainder of the balance for the full job which was paid only the week before.
When you employ an Edinburgh builder to carry out any project from period-home restoration to a home preservation and damp-proof course, you need to know that they’re reliable, trustworthy and deliver value for money. Here are some points to bear in mind when choosing your builder.
There are two sayings which could have been made for the building trade. You get what you pay for is one; buy cheap, pay twice is the other. Both mean the same thing – if low cost is at the top of your priority list you could be heading for a whole heap of trouble and more expense in the long run. It’s always worth paying extra for better quality products as they’ll last longer. For example, if you’re having underfloor heating installed pay a bit extra and have it supplied from a specialist underfloor heating manufacturer who’ll give you a five-year guarantee rather than buying cheap from your local DIY store.
Another example, is having an orangery or conservatory built from scratch. Consider having it made using Accoya and Tricoya acetylated wood instead of regular hardwood. Granted, it may cost more however, Accoya and Tricoya are guaranteed for 50 years. When you appreciate that a well-build extension, conservatory or orangery will be worth twice what you paid for it once it’s completed, the additional value it gives to your home more than makes up for the extra expense.
Let’s say you call a builder from a Google search. You like the look of their website and ask if they’re available to start on your project the following week. If they say yes, alarm bells should start ringing. Even when the building industry is down because of the economy, the best builders will always be booked ahead at the expense of others. So, if a builder tells you they can take on your job at short notice, they either have nothing in the diary already, or they plan to split their time between the project they’re already working on and your job – not good news for either client. To secure a good builder, you need to plan-ahead.
Has your builder asked you for money up-front for the whole job? If so, alarm bells should be ringing. It’s acceptable practice by builders to ask for staged payments in advance. But, before you part with your money, check that they carry adequate, not to mention, up-to-date insurance, to lower the risk of you losing your money. You can check if your builder is insured by contacting the regulatory body of which they will be a member, such as the Federation of Master Builders. If the builder you’re thinking about employing isn’t a member of a respected trade body, then it goes without saying that you shouldn’t even consider using them.
Compile a shortlist of reliable builders from a Google search. Then, narrow it down further by making sure they have the right experience. A good website is like a shop window; it should contain a portfolio, or gallery, of projects the builder has successfully completed in the past. You should then discuss these projects with them. If the builder is passionate about their workmanship they’ll be happy to discuss some of their previous work in detail. This should include challenges they faced and how they overcame them to keep their clients happy. If they can do this, they’re worth their weight in gold. And, it’s always worth investing a bit extra to get the job done right… first time!