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Getting your Building Work Done: A guide for householders

Getting your building work done: a guide for householders

Once you have decided that you know what you want to achieve, you will need to decide whether you employ an agent (frequently an Architect, Surveyor or some form of designer), or use a builder's services to advise on the project. Or you may wish to design & run the project yourself.

Both Agents and Builders advertise widely & the charges they make will vary from project to project. Before employing anyone regarding design work it is advisable to seek references from recent contracts, and establishing what their costs will be together with some estimate as to how long it will take before they will have a sketch design for you to discuss. Be prepared for this to be a lengthy procedure, but getting the design to match both your needs & wallet are essential.

Similarly, builders vary with respect to the type of work they do, for example some builders specialize in loft conversion work and rarely undertake any other sort of work. It is always advisable to have at least three estimates and make enquiries about work recently undertaken. Useful questions to ask others who have had building work done are:-

Would you recommend these builders?

Was their work clean & tidy? [Remember that the builders will be disruptive & likely to leave your home in a mess for the duration of the works]

Did they start & finish when they said they would?

Was the work done within the agreed estimate? [Remember an estimate is just that, and costs may reasonably rise by up to 10%. It is advisable to have either a contract with the builder or an agreement that any changes in costs are agreed in advance]

If you decide to carry out the building work yourself, possibly by sub-contracting some of the work to specialists such as plumbers & electricians, you need to be aware that you then effectively become the builder & consequently will be fully responsible for the project and any legal requirements as a result.

If you employ a builder it is worth making sure that the final account is not settled until you have received the completion certificate from New Forest Building Control

Updated: 23 Oct 2014
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