What’s it going to cost? Part 2 – getting quotes

Possibly the biggest problem with undertaking a renovation is ensuring the best price for materials with a well-finished installation. Jennifer Newton advises what to do when gathering quotes

Possibly the biggest problem with undertaking a renovation is ensuring the best price for materials with a well-finished installation.

I spoke with Kate Faulkner, author of Which? essential guides and founder of www.propertychecklists.co.uk about key things to consider when hiring a builder.

Kate is currently working with the industry to make renovation estimates uncomplicated, so that you know exactly what your money is being spent on and the break down of labour and materials, including a full break down of all prices for each part of the builder’s contract and proposed quote for the work needed.

I think it’s something that will be of great benefit to homeowners undertaking a project as it will give peace of mind about exactly what you’ll get for your money. I met a couple from Hornchurch, Essex recently, who’d done their research and obtained three quotes for a one-storey extension. The quotes varied so much – from £168,000 to £89,000 – they faced the problem of which to choose. The most expensive might not always be the best and the cheapest not always the worst.

Follow this quick guide, with tips from Kate, on what to look for and expect when hiring a tradesperson:

  • Verify references – any decent builder will want to show off previous work.?
  • Check professional membership – if they are with the Federation of Master Builders (www.fmb.org.uk), or Trustmark (www.trustmark.org.uk) these organisations will help if a dispute happens.?
  • Investigate guarantees – get everything in writing and if the company goes bust check the terms of the warranty.
  • Get a detailed quote – including cost of materials and the type being used and how long the work will take.?
  • Inspect the contract – it should show the schedule of work and payment stages. Always hold back at least 10 per cent until all work is completed – this should ensure the builders finish off everything they promised to a good standard. ?
  • Confirm insurance and ask to see it – the main checks are:

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