Selecting a builder to work on your home is an important decision. If your construction project is not carried out to the sufficient quality, you may be burdened with escalating charges and a lot of stress. This article overviews 7 great tips to help you pick the best builder. Follow this useful and informative guide and you'll be more likely to make a wise decision - one that will not lead to dissapointment or unnecessary cost : 1) Find out how long the builder has been in business. Ask the builder just how long they've been in business, and try to verify their answer. When the builder is a Limited company, you can check the date of incorporation of their business on Companies House (www.companieshouse.gov.uk). When they are a sole trader, you can call HMRC or Customs and Excise (if they're VAT Registered) in order to verify when the sole trader business was formally registered to trade. Just making these enquiries may possibly uncover things that shed a negative light on the builder. For example, should they have not formally registered their business and therefore are not declaring income for tax purposes - is this the type of company you want to deal with? All being well, you will find that precisely what they've said is readily verifiable, with little effort. 2) Does the builder possess a permanent business address. Ask the builder for his or her business address, and confirm it independently. Again, if the builder is a limited company, you should be able to determine the trading address and registered office address from companies house. When they are a sole trader, you can confirm their address through HMRC or Customs and Excise. If it's less than easy to find out and / or confirm the address of the builder, then this should raise some alarm bells. Any business who doesn't have an readily identifiable address will probably be one that doesn't desire to be identified. Reputable and honest businesses strive to be very easily found. 3) Request and validate 'recent' client testimonials. Make sure that you ask for the contact information for a minimum of three previous customers of the builder - and make sure you talk to each of the three. Ask for some detail about the project carried out, when it was completed, what was the price etc... The more detail you can get the better. Aim to establish whether they have any personal connection with the builder. If at all possible, ask if you can visit to take a look at the work that was completed. A real client will usually be more than pleased to show off their new extension if they have been genuinely happy with the workmanship from the builder. See : builders London 4. A thorough quotation = a thorough builder. Less reputable builders are likely to produce quotations quickly and with only very basic effort and work. It won't represent any detailed thought process, and will frequently just represent a ballpark estimate. You should beware, because this lack of attention for detail could end up being the attention to detail that the builder puts into your building project. An in depth quotation, in which the builder has broken down the project and costed each individual element should fill you with more confidence that you receive what you really are being offered. 5. Education, education, education. Become knowledgeable about the kind of project you need completed, and make sure you are clear about average / expected charges, likely duration and general materials used. There is a wealth of info on the internet, so it's very straightforward to spend some time teaching yourself. Make your understanding obvious to the builder. If it's clear they know what you are talking about, they're less likely to take advantage. See : builders Birmingham 6. Is the builder adequately insured, and what cover do you get on completion. Ask the builder about insurances and warranties to cover their work. Ideally, you ought to be covered both throughout the project being completed for any collateral damage caused to your property, and after the project is finished. Make it clear that you will require written confirmation of the insurances / warranties covering their work before you'll proceed. 7. ONLY EVER proceed on a FIXED cost basis with a written contract. Never, ever proceed unless you have received a clearly comprehensive FIXED charge for the project - and you've got a written contract. Hopefully these 7 useful tips will help in making a wise decision in choosing a builder. Do not cut corners - and don't get carried away by slick salesmanship or perhaps a cheap quote. In fact, you shouldn't pick a builder just on price - since the cheapest quote sometimes ends up being the one that will set you back by far the most. As the saying goes, "you get what you pay for" - and never has this been truer than when considering the building trade.