A good-quality, well-built house can outlast the most rugged of winters, howling storms, and scorching summers for many, many years. Some houses in our county have stood strong for hundreds of years. Newer houses should also be built to withstand the tests of time and the wild Cornish weather. But even the toughest of houses need a little TLC every now and again.
Maybe you need a roof repairing, or you want an extension built to accommodate your growing family. Maybe you need to replace guttering, you want to design a custom attic conversion. Maybe you need a staircase to put in, you’ve got a wall to render, a new kitchen or floor to be fitted, an old septic tank’s bust, or perhaps your property needs a complete renovation! Our homes change as we change, and finding the right team of builders and construction workers to make those changes can be a challenge. No one wants to end up talking to Dominic on Cowboy Builders!
Untrained, inexperienced constructionists will not build to a high standard or follow building regulations. They may leave a job incomplete, and it will ultimately cost you more money to replace or finish their poor workmanship. Reliable, experienced builders, however, will complete the job on budget, on time, to a high standard, resulting in a great quality renovation or construction project. So, here’s how to find the good’uns and avoid the bad’uns!
References and a good reputation
Listen to other tradesmen. Contact carpenters, plumbers, electricians you’ve had a good experience with and who impressed you. Ask them their opinion on who to trust and who to avoid. Get recommendations from those who are familiar with the trades and know experienced, reliable constructionists and workers. Asking around in the industry also allows you to gather quotes, so you know what the average price is for the job. This will give you an accurate indication of whether a quote is either too high or is too good to be true…
Ask friends and family who have had work done recently, and enquire about the companies they used. If you are visiting someone’s property and you like what you see, ask who did it. Good work speaks for itself.
Also, always ask for references from the construction company; check their portfolio and photos of past work. (Here are five tips for knowing what good quality work on a property looks like.) A reliable company will be more than happy to have you see their previous projects, and for you to chat with other customers for reviews, as well as read reviews from the company’s website or social media.
You can check out reputable builders on the FMB website (Federation of Master Builders). Through this database, you can be sure you are hiring a construction company that is experienced, licensed, pay fairly, and will complete the job to the highest standard.
Local constructionists who have been working in the area for a while will know where to get materials at competitive prices, will be able to hire experienced workers, will know about any local regulations, and will be familiar with local housing particularities (such as how to work with listed buildings and local planning permission). They will also know traditional construction methods and materials and will know how to make your project in keeping with the area’s aesthetic. Getting materials from the area and hiring workers locally also helps your project to be more sustainable, cutting down on fuel and carbon emissions, and contributes to the local economy, providing secure, skilled, and well-paid employment. Down here in the South West, this is especially important, and supporting local craftspeople will assist the community you are part of in Cornwall or Devon.
What’s on offer?
Whilst researching the construction company, be sure to know exactly what they can do for you. Are they specialists in one area only, or can they see the whole project through from start to completion? Will they be able to sign off on any gas or electric work, or will other parties have to check the paperwork? You can check over exactly what’s been done for you in invoices.
Paying a fair price
Good quality work does cost money. Not only are you paying for materials, transport, and labour, master builders have years worth of training and experience. Do shop around for quotes from reputable builders, and immediately, any company that is over or undercharging will be shown up. Gather at least three quotes to get an accurate idea of the average price for good quality work. Be wary of quotes that seem too good to be true; a good builder knows what their work is worth and will not skimp on the quality of materials or the workforce they employ. It’s better to pay a little more to contract reliable constructionists than shell out more later on for a job left uncompleted or unsafe. Even worse, you could end up living in a house that is dangerous.
When in doubt, just ask!
Your home should be somewhere you feel safe and comfortable. Therefore, finding the right team to make that happen is key to getting the home you’ve always dreamed of. However, spending large amounts of money on construction work can feel daunting. That’s why we encourage you to get in contact with the companies you research to really get to know them. We are always happy to answer any questions you might have about your renovation and construction projects. We see projects right through from start to finish, and with over thirty years of construction experience, we can spot a job well done from a mile off. You can get in touch here to find out more about what we can do for you.