choosing your builder

When renovating your home, choosing a trustworthy builder who will renovate your home to a high-quality standard is essential. It is even more critical to select a builder that is the best builder for your project.


-         Check the builder is accredited.

-         Check the builder has the correct insurance for the type of work they are carrying out.

-         Shop around to assess what a fair price is before choosing your preferred builder.

-         Ask for recommendations from friends or family so that you chose a builder with a proven track record.

-         Ask your trusted traders who have connections with other reputable tradespeople.

-         Choose traders from reputable sources such as the FMB.


Builder qualifications

Some builders may provide proof of their training with a CSCS (Construction of Skills Certification Scheme) card or an NVQ for construction builders. However, these builders don't need to have these qualifications, so it may be beneficial to choose a trader from the FMB to minimise risk. You can

On the other hand, electricians and plumbers must have qualifications. Electricians should be registered with a Competent Persons Scheme like ELECSA or NICEIC. Plumbers must be Gas Safe Registered to fit gas appliances such as new cookers legally.


It would be best to try to get three or more quotes from trusted builders to ensure that you are paying the right price for your project. However, remember that the cheapest quote may not always be the best; for example, this may not include removing old cabinets.

To ensure your quote is accurate, you should make sure that you provide the builders with detailed but concise information about what you require. Advising your timescale can avoid potential access issues, and planning permission requirements can all help to minimise the risk of unexpected and costly delays.


It is always advisable to draw up a written contract with your builder. The contract must be written to ensure that you have a record of what you have agreed upon. Your contract need not be complicated but simply detail:

-         The contact information of all parties involved in the project and their main point of contact.

-         Start and completion date.

-         A summary of the work to be completed.

-         Information on what each builder is responsible for.

-         Any documents that may need to be referred to include quotes, work schedules, specifications, drawings, and planning permission.

-         Agreed method of payment and payment plan, e.g in full or in stages.

-         Agreed prices for overruns and extras.

-         Pre-arranged warranties and guarantees.

-         Expected work standard.

-         How disputes will be resolved.

-         How project changes will be documented.

-         How insolvency and overruns due to unforeseen issues such as weather will be resolved.

-         Site restrictions.


Your contract should already detail how you will pay your builder. Credit cards or bank cheques are ideal; cash should be avoided. If you are paying by bank transfer, cross check the bank details with your builder to ensure that you are not the victim of cyber-crime. It is also a good idea to transfer a minimal amount first if there are any problems with the account details.

Your builder may ask for a deposit to pay for materials and equipment. Particularly, if you have ordered made to measure products, builders will want to ask for a deposit as they are unlikely to sell those products to other customers. However, you should not pay more than 25% for your deposit.