Developing a brief that is well thought out, researched and agreed between all parties will help you to begin your project on a high.

Ian Henderson from Hende Building Services was crowned Heavenly Builder of the Year at the Federation of Master Builders’ 2017 Master Builder of the Year Awards and knows a thing or two about working closely with his clients.

Here are Ian’s five simple tips explaining how to get the most out of your project.

1. Have an idea.
Before attempting to find a builder make sure you know clearly in your own mind what you are trying to achieve with your project. This does not have to be a full, down to the last nail understanding, but planning your job and knowing what you are hoping to achieve from the outset is hugely important. Having as much detail at the outset, if it will be a single storey, double storey or loft extension etc. is important information to provide your prospective builders. If you are working with an architect you should have a good set of accurate plans. Having these to show your builder at the briefing stage will help them to provide a more accurate quote.

2. Do your research
The internet will be your best friend here. That is where you will be able to find a lot of the information you require and determine what it is you are hoping to achieve with your project. This is a massive investment for you so it should be the same as buying a car - you wouldn’t just go out and buy the first one you see, would you? Researching at this stage of the project is hugely beneficial as it will limit the shock of coming across unexpected requirements. When extra costs are introduced into a project, this typically comes from a lack of original research.

3. Budgeting
Setting out your budget prior to assigning a builder can help to make sure that you manage all expectations. Having an idea of how much you want to spend and contribute toward your build will help you in your selection process. What you might not want is to tell your prospective builders your budget, make sure you have a clear idea. It is also wise to set aside between five and 10 per cent of your total budget as a contingency fund. Remember, a thought out budget will be the greatest asset for you and your builder.

4. Let’s agree, not to disagree
Communication breakdowns between key stakeholders, i.e. you and your partner, can be one of the most difficult struggles a builder will face when being delivered a brief. Before your builder gets involved, have an honest discussion with your partner or spouse about exactly what you want. Make sure that you are on the same page, or at least in the same book. Agreeing on details in advance, especially if it’s not a standard feature, is important so that significant changes to the brief can be made before it is too late.

5. Nail the specifics
While the very minor decisions tend to come later in the project, like deciding on a colour scheme, it’s details that are often considered minor that tend to have a large impact on the brief. These can range from brick types, door and window styles to light switches and kitchen and bathroom faucets. Explaining these details in your brief go a long way to determining the full quote price and helps to stop unexpected costs from occurring.

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