Appointing a Builder

Updated: Apr 26, 2021

Everyone is doing work on their property, especially after the last year when we were all locked indoors. If you want to know how to get started, then read our other blog 'Where do I start?' Once you have finalised your plans with your Architect, you need to find your Builder but how do you find the best Builder to work with?

Many people will use word of mouth when looking to appoint a contractor and compare a number of quotes to ensure that you're getting a fair deal for the work you want. Some other things to consider are;

  • Do they have a good reputation? They should be able to show you examples of their previous work or put you in touch with people they have worked with.

  • Can you work with this person? Your Builder and their team is likely to be in your property for a few months!

  • Cost - let's be real, a lot of the final decision making comes down to the cost - you get a number of quotes and you go with the cheapest option...but is that always the best thing to do?

  • When can they start? Do you have a deadline you're working towards? A lot of good Building teams are always busy but you may consider that they are worth waiting for (we all know about 'cowboy builders').

  • Project Management? Your Builder should manage all aspects of the Extension for you (unless you want to do this yourself) - there are a lot of different skilled labourers involved at different stages and if you haven't done something like this before, it can be quite daunting.

  • Money - you should never be expected to pay for a project upfront. If this is something your Builder asks you for, then be aware that this is not the industry standard. You may be expected to pay a small deposit to secure your start date but a weekly payment plan should be put in place only while the work is going ahead. This protects you from any issues down the line.

Building Quote

Your building quote should be based on your finalised plans and should include everything which is detailed on your plans or supporting documents unless you have agreed anything extra in writing. (If you're looking for a quote from JMA Construction, simply fill out our 'Contact' form online and we'll be in touch to arrange a site meeting).

Your Builder should use the drawings to accurately measure all aspects of your construction. They will calculate the materials required to complete the work and the labour involved (this may or may not include Subcontractors). You should not assume that something is included if it does not form part of the documented contract (i.e. you mentioned once that you like some fancy doors) and if there are any changes or unknowns which crop up throughout the project then you must be aware that you will have to pay for them.

This quote should be a personalised quote based on your requirements and not a general quotation based on the Builders experience. The quote should specify actual and estimated items. It should be clear and especially indicate what is NOT included as you will have to budget for these items on top.

Building Team

Is it really that complicated? Surely I can do this myself!

This a non-exhaustive list of third-party skilled labourers who may be involved throughout your extension (at different times and often dependant on other parts of the work being completed first!);

1. Groundworks team and bricklayers

2. Electricians

3. Plumbers

4. Joiners

5. Stonework specialists

6. Roofers

7. Plasterers

8. Renderers

9. Decorators

10. Kitchen fitters

11. Specialist fitters

Your Builder should have a relationship with a number of local Subcontractors and will have experience in knowing when they need to be available to ensure your project isn't at a standstill at any point. Any breaks in a project can mean additional costs being incurred (for example if you're renting a property while the work is ongoing) and let's be real, nobody wants this to take longer than is needed.


Local suppliers will be required to provide materials to the site and should be available when needed. Your Builder will have calculated the materials needed for your project at the point of quoting. These are some examples of basic materials which may be required to complete your extension;

1. Concrete

2. Skips and grab wagons

3. Building materials

4. Steel

5. Electrical fixtures and fittings

6. Plumbing fixtures and fittings

7. Stone

8. Wood (stairs/doors/skirting boards/floors/windows)

9. Roofing materials

10. Scaffolding

11. Kitchen

12. Glass doors/doors/windows

Building an extension should be something your Builder has done a number of times. Even though there are a lot of variables, your Builder should be able to co-ordinate all of the trade's materials as necessary so that the project continues and there is a constant flow of work on the project. If any of the work is being carried out by a third-party, this should be clear on the quote along with separate payment terms if necessary. Your Builder will probably have a list of recommended trades people who they work with all of the time but if you want to use someone else then you need to ensure that they are available to complete the work when required so not to cause delay to the project. For example, if your project requires specialist windows and you are ordering these then you need to ensure that they are available when required. Delays at this stage may be at your cost and may stop the entire project.

In Conclusion

Having any kind of work completed on your house is exciting. Yes, you may have a dusty house for a few months but the outcome is always worth the effort! Make sure you know what you want, get a good Architect and most importantly an Excellent Builder (ahem...JMA Construction!).

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