Building control

Choosing a builder

If you plan to use a builder for any work on your property, it is important to think about your choice very carefully. Thoroughly check any builders before using them. 

For large projects, think about using an independent professional such as an architect, surveyor or building engineer to advise you. We cannot help you with this choice, but before employing a builder think about the following points. 

  • Talk to your professional adviser about the extent of your contract with the builder. 
  • Does it include the preparation of plans only or is supervision of the site included? 
  • If you think your project is too small to need a professional, get advice from someone within the building industry who you know and trust. 

Remember that we are always available to give you advice. You can ring the duty officer on 020 3373 8200, between 9 and 10.30am Monday to Friday. 

Points to remember when starting a building project 

Always get quotations (at least three) and ask your professional adviser to check them. And don't always go for the cheapest quote. 
Ask the builder these questions: 

  • Are you happy to use the new Joint Contracts Tribunal?
  • Where have you worked before? 
  • Are you happy for me to see your previous work? 
  • Can you supply references from satisfied clients? 
  • What is your experience in this kind of project? 
  • How do you want to be paid, when you finish or in stages? 
  • Will you give me a finish date? 
  • Will you accept a penalty clause on failure to complete on time? 
  • Will you agree to me writing a letter of agreement covering the main points of the job, including: work to be done; agreed price; start and finish dates and payment methods? 
  • Will you agree to arbitration if I have any dispute? (Arbitration is the judging of a dispute by someone not involved in it.) 

And check out the builder's work, references and other things, such as working habits, with previous clients. Ask questions now; don't wait until it's too late.