How to hire the best builders

The best way to find good builders in your area that you can rely on to do a good job is to ask your friends, family and neighbours. See how it went for them. Also assess the building works they had done and see if it would meet your own standards too. Never go with the first quote you get from a builder. This is good to know as quotes can vary by hundreds of pounds in some cases and the cheapest quote is not always the best option. There is also the saying too that sometimes you may save now by going cheap – but pay later on. This is never ever going to be a wise move.

The role of a builder on any project

Commercial Building contractors are professional project managers and business owners, ranging from one-man operations to small to medium enterprises. They understand the construction process and the building industry, and how to keep a project on schedule by co-ordinating labour and materials, plant, tools, equipment, and taking into account other elements, such as bad weather. They have a legal duty to comply with building regulations and owe you a duty of care.

The typical cost of a builder on a project

A contractor will calculate how much a renovation or extension project is going to cost in labour and materials. Plus specialist trades such as electrics and plumbing, which are typically subcontracted. As well as preliminaries (site set-up costs, welfare facilities, scaffold, permits and permissions). They will add a charge for their own management time. Plus an element of profit, typically between 15 and 20 per cent of the total cost. In addition, the cost of a builder can fluctuate due to economic reasons. If materials are limited due to supply, then the cost of these will increase, elevating your overall project cost.

Ways for you to be able to find a builder

Another good way to find a commercial builder is by approaching builders undertaking work in your area. If there is an advertising sign with a phone number or web address next to the building site, this is promising, because, at the very least, it means that the builder is communicative and open to new work. Even better, before you contact the builder direct, approach the current client in order to ask what they think of the work so far, you may even be able to look around the site to get a feel for the building work. This may seem invasive, but most individuals are more than happy to show off their home and the build. If they are happy with the builder will want to shout about it and if they have qualms, they will want you to know.

In more detail

Regardless of which route you go down to find your builder, you should never skip a face-to-face conversation. as meeting in person will help you get a better feel for them as an individual. Aim to visit one or two current or recently completed clients also as chasing references. This will give you confidence that they have successfully completed other work.

Good tradesmen can become bad overnight – literally

A good tradesman is most unlikely to turn into a poor tradesman overnight. Whereas a cowboy has probably never had any construction skills in the first place. So it’s fair to assume that if someone has done a good job for someone else, they will be able to replicate this for you.


Hiring a general builder will be more expensive, because you will be passing much of the risk over to him. A main contractor is going to have to find the individual trades for you but will know who is worth hiring in your area. If you take on the project manager role and hire the individual trades, you can expect a lower labour bill. But this will be at the expense of your increased involvement and you’ll need to assess every tradesman you hire. Other self-builders can be an invaluable source of good tradesmen, so ask around.

 If you are building with a method other than traditional brick and block or timber frame, it’s a good idea to check whether your builder is comfortable with your choice of structural system. If they are not, then seek references for suitable local tradesmen from the supplying company.