Keep cool, keep talking and keep it friendly
Check that your proposed builders are accredited FMB builders. They have been checked out and you can get help if you get into a dispute with your builder.
- Talk to the builder's previous customers. Go and see the jobs he has done and ask the customer if it all went well.
- Decide, to the last detail, what you want done and make sure the builders' estimates cover everything you would like done. Get it all down in writing, preferably in a contract. Try not to change your mind during the job as it can add to costs, but if you do, make sure all changes are agreed in writing.
- Get peace of mind by asking your builder for an insurance-backed warranty on the work.
- Clear the area where the builders will be working - make sure clothes, books and furniture are out of the way. The builders may help you move heavy furniture. Clear and protect any areas the builders may need for access.
- Ensure children, pets and others using the house are kept out of the area to be used by the builders.
- If you don't think you can share your loo or kitchen with the builders tell them so they can make other arrangements in advance.
- If you are unhappy, chose a good moment and explain as soon as you can. Talk to the person responsible for the job, not one of the workers.
- Make sure you discuss when you need to be on hand for any quick decisions. If you go away, leave your builders with contact numbers.
- Once you are happy with the work and have the relevant paperwork from the builders, pay them promptly.
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For more information on working with builders, the FMB has produced "The Essential Guide to Home Improvement". This free guide packed full of information on planning a project, and choosing and working with a builder.