need tips on what to ask a builder

  sunnystaines 19:27 21 Jul 11

my long search for a new home is looking good. seen a wreck and will get a builder to take it away and build on the same footprint.

i know about asking for gurantee insurance & NHBC. To be built with blocks, not sure what else to check/assk as it will be on a mortgage and donot what to get hit with exrtra costs half way through.

  Aitchbee 20:09 21 Jul 11

BBC TV program 'Homes Under The Hammer' sometimes feature new builds but unfortunately the details of how the finished 'on the screen' house was constructed and the problems encountered are never shown.(I hope the BBC sort this out with a follow up program 'Homes - How To Build One'. This might encourage house-building in this country. (UK)

  spider9 20:20 21 Jul 11

I would say get yourself a good architect and he should then keep you right with any planning and building control issues. Should save you a lot of grief.

  Woolwell 20:25 21 Jul 11

Architect, Quantity Surveyor are good places to start.

  sunnystaines 20:29 21 Jul 11

thanks for the tips, off now to look up yellow pages for some.

  Woolwell 20:33 21 Jul 11

Look up the professional associations, ask around who they would recommend, chose your professional advisor very carefully.

Do a lot of long research. It will go over budget unless you have a large contingency fund in your budget.

If you are starting with virtually no knowledge then I wouldn't go down your route.

  Woolwell 20:34 21 Jul 11

Which part of the country are you thinking of?

  Forum Editor 23:03 21 Jul 11

Use an architect.

Get him or her to show you some previous projects,and discuss a fee forecast before you commit. Your architect will recommend a structural engineer (structural calculations must be submitted to the local authority's building control department),and will handle the planning application and building control submission on your behalf.

The architect can also deal with what's referred to as 'supervision' as far as the builder is concerned, which means he or she will regularly visit the site, and will approve staged payments to the builder. This means you make no payments unless the architect has given approval.

It would be normal for the architect to invite several builders to submit tenders for the work, and these builders will be people with whom the architect has worked previously. An alternative is to negotiate a contract with a builder who you know and like; this can be a very good way of working, but you need to know who you're dealing with.

It's absolutely crucial that you give the architect a thorough briefing as to your exact requirements, so a schedule of works can be prepared for tendering or negotiating purposes. If you don't do this in detail you may be faced with unexpected extra costs as the work proceeds - it's the single biggest cause of client/builder disputes on small building works. You can't spend too much time on this, so sit down and try to think of everything before you start working with an architect - right down to the number of power and lighting points in each room, the type of doors, skirting boards, floor finishes, etc.

When budgeting don't forget that apart from your architect you will have to pay a structural engineer's fees, and a fairly hefty fee to the local authority building control department to cover the building inspector's site visits. The inspector's job is to ensure that the house is constructed in compliance with all current building regulations, and you'll receive a certificate of satisfaction on completion of the project. There will also be a fee for the planning application.

Your architect will draw up a standard building contract with the selected builder. Make sure that you know whose responsibility it is to insure materials on site, and the building itself whilst under construction. The architect should ask to see a copy of the builder's insurance policies, but satisfy yourself that this has been done.

  sunnystaines 09:01 22 Jul 11


shepperon, surrey

FE some good advice thankyou

  Aitchbee 09:44 22 Jul 11

It seems building a web-site is fraught with red-tape too.

  spider9 10:08 22 Jul 11


If this is your first venture into 'self-build' then it will feel like everybody is helping themselves to the contents of your wallet - before a single block has been laid!!

Try to keep your mind on the 'big picture' and the eventual result, and use the best materials you can afford, or you may have regrets (particularly if it is to be your own home, and not sold on).

It will be a miracle if you do not have 'issues' with tradesmen, so be prepared mentally for some anguish as well as great satisfaction as work proceeds to completion.

Try and keep the LA inspectors on-side, they can be very helpful with advice.

Good luck!

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