Choose a builder with a good local reputation

Personal recommendations from friends and neighbours can be very useful.
You can also get a list of builders in your area from the National Specialist Contractors Council

Decide exactly what you want the builder to do before you ask him to quote for the work

This will avoid misunderstandings later on.

Get quotations from more than one builder

Three quotations are quite usual. Remember that the cheapest quote may not always turn out to be the best value for money.

Check whether the builder belongs to a trade association

Ask the builder to show you their association's conditions of membership and code of conduct.

Don't be hurried into a decision

If the builder isn't prepared to take time to discuss your work and give you his advice, then you should think about going elsewhere. A good, reputable builder will always want to do his best for you, right from the start.

Download a FREE Enquiry Letter Template that helps you find the right builder for you HERE.



Specifications and drawings

Make sure you are both quite clear about which of you will produce specifications or drawings, if they are needed.

Clarify the arrangements for the work

Make sure that you and the builder have filled in all the details in Part 1 of the contract, which deals with the arrangements for the work. The builder must also fill in the Cancellation form at the back of the contract.

Conditions of the contract

Make sure you and the builder have read and understood the terms in Part 2 of the contract.

Advance payments

Builders sometimes ask customers to make payments in advance, before they do the work. Only consider making payments in advance for goods that need to be specially made off site before work can start on your home.

Paying in instalments

Should you agree to pay in instalments, these should relate to stages of the work, (for example, brickwork complete, plastering complete, roofing complete, alterations to ground floor) rather than timescales. Only stages that can be clearly defined should be used.

Find out about the adjudication scheme referred to within the contract

Details of the adjudication scheme are within the contract itself, available at and from the organisations running the scheme.
Adjudication is a fast and relatively cheap way of settling disputes. The adjudicator's decision will be binding unless you or the builder challenge it in court. (If the adjudicator's decision is challenged in a court you may have to pay other costs.)



Right to cancel

You can cancel the contract within 7 days of signing it. There is a cancellation form at the back of the contract.

Tell your insurers about the building work

If you have buildings or contents insurance, make sure you inform your insurers. If you do not tell your insurers, they may not pay out if you make a claim.

Check your builder has insurance

You should ask the builder to confirm that he has insurance cover before starting the work. To keep to the contract, the builder must have insurance to cover the building work, the materials on site for the work, and his 'public liability to persons and property' (cover against injuries to people and damage to property).

Keeping within building regulations and the law

The builder must keep to building regulations and health and safety laws. If the customer has any concerns, he should discuss these with the builder.

If the builder does not keep to the relevant local authority's building approvals, and the builder cannot put the matter right, the local authority will hold you responsible.



Give details of any changes to the work in writing

If you need to give instructions on a change to the work, or to tell the builder about any faults in the work, give details in writing.


If you have any disagreements while the work is being done, first try to sort them out between you before considering going to adjudication or to the courts.


Contact your local authority's planning and building control departments or view their website.