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It’s understandable to be cautious about choosing a building contractor for a renovation project. We’ve all heard stories about cowboy builders leaving jobs half-completed, agreed prices rising significantly, and generally dealing with unpleasant contractors. Wether you’re installing new windows or building an extension, doing your homework on your building company or contractor can save you any issues in the long run.

However, an exciting project shouldn’t be put on hold because of a bad contract – it’s just a case of finding the right one!

There are many reliable building contractors out there providing quality services for reasonable prices, so it’s always worth taking the time to choose the right contractor to ensure the best results possible.

Here’s some tips for choosing the right contractor for your building project:

Ask around for recommendations

One of the simplest yet most effective ways of finding the right contractor is to ask around for recommendations. Whether it’s friends, family, or a neighbour that has recently had work completed, be sure to ask people you trust for a recommendation.

It doesn’t need to be someone you know either. For instance, if you’ve recently had a tradesman do work in your home, you could ask them for recommendations to building contractors, as they’ve likely worked with a few themselves.

Do your homework online

The internet has helped slow down the onslaught of cowboy builders, allowing homeowners to get honest reviews (like our many great reviews) about their standard of work, practices, fees etc. If you manage to find some recommendations, take the time to research each candidate.

Online review websites specifically for tradesmen is a good place to start, while you can also visit each company’s website to see the quality of work for yourself, providing they have an online portfolio.

Be mindful that all reviews are subjective, so don’t take them all at face value, especially when there aren’t too many of them.

Look for contractors that belong to a trade association

Contractors that belong to a trade association are generally more reliable than those that don’t. The reason for this is because membership to associations require vetting, with all potential members being held to high standards, so it tends to mean they are quite reliable.

Consider looking for membership to associations like the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), but bear in mind that it’s never a guarantee of reliability – combine this with your own research to ensure you find the best contractor possible.

Request references and proof of work

Before making your final decision on a contractor, take the time to contact them directly and request some proof of work and references. A good portfolio is always worth finding, as you see the standard of work for yourself, while references give more insight into the overall quality of the contractor.

If a contractor cannot provide either of these then you may want to stay clear – it’s never a good sign of quality and reliability if they refuse to give references or examples of their work!