You’ve got the vision to build your dream home, and found the perfect builder… now you need to make sure you understand how this process will work.
To help communication flow as smoothly as it can, here’s nine important questions you should ask before the work begins!
1. Who will be my main point of contact?
You’ve most likely been dealing with the director of the company to get their firm on board, but will this be the person you deal with on a day to day basis? Do they have a site manager liaising with clients across all sites? Or will certain projects be dealt with by the people doing the work? It’s good to know who you will be talking to and how you communicate with them (email / text / phone) – also what hours they operate at!
2. What is the timeline?
Have a rough idea in your head of when things should start and finish. Your builder should have worked on a project plan for you, making you aware of timings for each part of the job so that you can prepare ahead – for an extension, be aware that the team may need access to rooms that you thought were off limits – it’s good to establish early with your builder what rooms need to be cleared in preparation for the build, and also when you think you may be able to have access to these rooms again. It’s worth asking your builder whether they see any potential hold ups in the plan, bearing in mind things can change depending on weather, availability of the team, and any other surprises your existing home may throw up along the way!
3. Can I change my mind part way through the job?
The desire to add an extra window, or keep an original feature to a fireplace that you didn’t know existed is more common than you think – you can plan all you want, but until you see the work in progress, you won’t know how those plans will look. Changes to the build will usually add to the cost and time that the builder will be on site, so it is better that these changes are implemented earlier on in the program, where the additional cost and delay will be less. Changes to the plans can be different for every home builder, we always encourage our clients to communicate with us at every step of the process so that we can work with them to create their dream home, accommodating any changes (the best we can!) that come up along the way.
4. Will you stick to budget?
A home builder will always be upfront with you about what is and isn’t included in your build. If there are changes to the initial plan, they will seek your approval before moving forward. At Whitley Builders no decision is made without informing the client, and any extra costs that may arise are always sign posted before going ahead with the work.
5. What type of warranty do you provide?
For a new build, Whitley Builders would offer an NHBC warranty which would cover structural issues in the ten years from completion. For existing home extensions, the defects period is often detailed in the contract, and if nothing is requested then defects on any product is 12 months granted by the manufacturer.
6. Do I have access to the site during construction?
Site access would be granted during working hours, especially when entering scaffolds, which should only ever be done with supervision and conformation the scaffold is safe. Accessing the site out of hours is extremely dangerous and would never be recommended by the builder.
7. Can you provide references or walk throughs of previous jobs you’ve done?
Reputable builders are proud of the work they do, and will gladly provide references. You can also ask if they have a current project you can walk through – visiting an active work site can give you insight into how the builder operates and how organized they are.
8. How soon can you start?
We often get asked this question, and this varies with each project, and with the amount of work we are taking on elsewhere at that time too – either way, we will always know when our start date will be, and this will be communicated with the client as soon as we know.
9. Will you be on site every day?
As managing director of Whitley Builders, my answer would be yes, but not all day as a project that is less than £500000+vat wouldn’t justify the cost of having a permanent site foreman. Either way, I am always contactable by email or over the phone!