Professional Architects and Designers in Solihull Est. 1981

riba chartered architects practice in solihull

10 things to do before your builder starts work

Posted in Top Tips | Written by Vicki Potter

To ensure a smooth project, follow our tips to fully prepare for your building work:

  1. Review your quote in detail and ensure you understand exactly what is included, and what is not. If in doubt, ask your builder to clarify.
  2. The price of materials has been fluctuating significantly over the last year or so. Ask your builder how he intends to deal with any material price rises, and whether these will be passed on to you.
  3. There will always be things that you haven’t foreseen, or issues that are revealed when you start opening up. For example, you may discover rotton floor joists, or that your drain is leaking. Accept that this is normal and set aside a contingency fund of 5-10% of the total build budget to cover these unexpected elements of work.
  4. Set up a contract with clear payment terms and completion date. Don’t pay any deposits up front. Ideally include a ‘retention period’, where you hold back a small percentage of the total bill for a few months after it is completed, to allow for any problems to come to light.
  5. If the builder has arranged the Building Control application, understand which company is inspecting the work and how to contact them if you have any queries. Remember that the Inspector is working for you and is there to check that the builder’s work is satisfactory. There are a number of independent private Inspecting companies who are in commercial competition with the Local Authority Building Control department. Ask your Architect for advice.
  6. Agree the best way to communicate with your builder on a day-to-day basis. Share phone numbers and ideally set up a regular time to meet on site to discuss progress.
  7. Have a look at this website to understand your obligations under Health and Safety legislation.
  8. If the builder needs your driveway to park their vans, put a skip and store materials, find another place to park for the duration of the project.
  9. Ask for a programme of works. This will never be set-in-stone but will at least give you an idea of what to expect each week.
  10. Notify your home insurers that you are doing work – it may affect your premiums.


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