Finding a builder you can trust? Simply comparing quotes and asking for references won't cut it

With reliable builders a scarce commodity, it's important to do due diligence before committing

finding a builder
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Having trouble finding a builder? There's a shortage of reliable builders in Britain, and that's a fact. As we reported recently, some home owners have even been reported to be delaying home renovations because they are unable to find a quality builder for their project. 

And if you live in London, it's even more difficult. With so many people doing home improvements in the capital, it's even trickier to secure a reliable builder who will do the job well. Neither does it help that homeowners find builders (and roofers) the most mistrusted of trades, according to a survey by Which? of its members in 2018.

So, how should you look for a builder? Paula Higgins, chief executive of the Home Owners Alliance, has the following five simple tips for getting the best builder:

  • Get three to five quotes, in writing: a reputable builder will be willing to come over and chat over all the details and convince you of their ability and skills. You must make sure quotes detail the materials and labour costs involved because prices can vary vastly. Be wary of very low and verbal quotes as the price is likely to rise later;
  • Use the Companies House web check service (for just £1) to see how long they've been trading; 
  • Give yourself enough time: want your renovation works done by Christmas? You need to start doing your research now. The more time you give yourself, the less likely you'll be to panic and go with the first builder available;
  • Use online search tools such as Checkatrade – all of their builders are fully vetted professionals;
  • Check they will provide building regulations certificates you'll need them for a wide range of jobs from gas and electrics to replacing windows and doors.

These tips are really valuable, but only just scratch the surface. There are many other background checks you should be doing – and comparing quotes is something of an art because they're not always submitted like for like. Ready to start looking? Use our guide on how to find a good builder for all the information you need.