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10 things to ask your prospective builders in Cardiff

Man laying a brick with cement

Conduct basic research to ensure you select the best tradesmen in Cardiff for your home improvement project

With a wide range of builders in Cardiff and South Wales, all with a varying degree of skills and expertise, choosing the right building firm for your project can seem a pretty daunting experience. Horror stories often surface of 'cowboy builders' doing a less than satisfactory job, resulting in further expenses being paid as trust must be once again put in a different building firm in the hope of adequately rectifying the previous work. To help you select the right builders for the job, there are some basic questions that you should be asking every firm that you contact - it'll pay dividends in the long run and help you separate the good from the bad.

Don't feel uncomfortable asking

You're likely to be making a big investment in your home, so don't feel uncomfortable asking the builders a series of questions. You want the work completed to an exceptional standard the first time of asking and will want it to last many years, so you're perfectly entitled to ask key questions. If the builders make you feel uncomfortable about asking them, then that should immediately raise a red flag - a reputable building firm in Cardiff will be all too happy to answer and will enjoy using them as an opportunity to showcase why they have the credentials and building team to complete the job.

If you're looking for reputable builders in Cardiff but are unsure on where to start, the Federation of Master Builders have this useful search tool that can provide you with a list of accredited building companies that are located near you.

10 key questions to ask builders:

1. How much experience does the company and its workers have?

Ask about the experience of the company and its workers so you can get a better understanding of how long they've operated in the building industry. It's important to gain a better understanding of the experience of the workforce, because some companies may be a younger outfit but the people concerned and involved with the business and the work that's carried out may have many years' experience.

2. Do you provide accurate quotations?

Make sure you clarify whether the builders are providing you with an estimation or an accurate quote. An estimation is a non-specific value that's susceptible to change either before or during the work being carried out. A quotation is more specific and provides a figure that should be far more accurate, with any elements subject to change and under what circumstances that could happen clearly highlighted.

3. Will I get a full quotation in writing?

This is very important because you will want to know exactly what is covered within the quote and what the itemised costs are, including all materials. Also, ask for any waste removal cost such as skip hire to also be included.

4. Are you fully insured?

Public liability insurance is a basic minimum. Ensure the builders are properly ensured with all required permits in places for certain activities that may take place during the building work, such as specific waste removal.

5. Can I see references for completed building work that you've done?

Word of mouth is highly valued in the building industry as many builders rely on it to gain business, and any reputable building firm in Cardiff should have a good selection of references that they can call upon to show you. This may include written testimonials and photos of completed projects, or possibly even contact details of some previous clients so that you can seek a reference from them directly.

6. Is your building company a member of a trade body?

Ensure the building company that you hire are a member of a recognised building trade organisation, such as the FMB (Federation of Master Builders) or NHBC (National House Building Council).

7. Can you give me a schedule and time frame for the building work?

It can be very beneficial to have an accurate idea of how long the building work is likely to last as well as the activities that are scheduled to take place at certain times. This will provide you with an opportunity to make neighbours aware of what is going on. It's worth noting that exclusions can apply, such as inclement weather effecting the possibility to conduct certain building work at times.

8. What payment methods are available?

You should be wary if the building company insist on all or most of the total costs being paid up front. The majority of reputable builders in Cardiff and South Wales will accept payment for labour work in arrears, perhaps with a settlement of material costs as they are delivered.

In most cases, the most common form of payment is an agreed schedule of staged payments throughout the building work with the final instalment due upon completion once you're fully satisfied with the quality of the finished project.

9. Will disruption be kept to an absolute minimum?

Experienced builders will be used to communicating with their customers and the local neighbourhood so that good relations can be kept and so that the community are fully aware of what is going on. Things such as careful parking of vehicles and noise being kept to a minimum should be basic things you expect from experienced builders, but do ask the question to ensure you're satisfied with their response and commitment to keeping disruption as low as possible.

10. What is the address and contact details of the building company?

If the building firm aren't willing to freely give out contact details - including their address - then this is cause for concern. You'll be far more reassured of their credibility if they can provide a fixed address for the building company. If they aren't willing to disclose this information, then the chances are they are trying to hide something - likely their lack of expertise and experience.

Two bonus tips:

Firstly, it's common to seek a personal recommendation when you're looking for builders. We have already highlighted the importance word of mouth plays in the building industry, but make sure you seek your recommendation from someone who has first-hand experience of receiving building work from the company they recommend - not just a friend of a friend who knows someone, or the man you occasionally speak to in the pub.

Secondly, discuss project planning with your builders. Some building companies will offer complete design and planning packages for the building work, so you may want to find out more about the quality of these services that they offer. You may instead want to opt for the services of a skilled and competent architect, and ask the builders to quote for these specific plans instead.

Here at RGB Construction we offer a wide range of building services to help you make the most of your home and add significant value. We operate across Cardiff and surrounding areas of South Wales, and would love to discuss your home improvement project in more detail. Contact us today to book in your free quotation by calling 07946452571, e-mailing or by filling in our online contact form.


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