Building contracts – questions to ask before you sign

A major building project can involve a large financial investment from you. The last thing you want is to waste money by not getting the results you were hoping for. This can happen, if you do not choose a reputable builder and you do not ask the right questions before you sign a contract with them.

Professionals like can help you find building professionals who are reliable and have good credentials. Once you have chosen a builder who you think will do a good job, these are some of the questions you need to ask, before you enter into a contract with them.



Are you fully licensed and insured?
You should only ever hire a professional licensed builder. Insurance is important in case there are any incidents on your property while the work is being done.

Do you have examples of previous projects?
It can give you a much better ideaof what you can expect from your project if you can see some of the builder’s previous work. It’s also worth asking if you can speak to previous clients. Genuine builders should be happy to provide this type of information where possible.

Are you an established business?
If a building business has been around in the local community for several years, and is still going strong, there is a good chance that they do good work. You should not necessarily rule out hiring a new building firm, but you should be careful.

What does your quote include?
It can be difficult enough to budget for building work without being faced with nasty surprises. You need to make sure that you know what is included in the builder’s quote, right from the start.

How long will the work take to complete?
This is a fairly obvious question to ask. There is always a chance that timescales may change slightly but you need to have a good idea about what to expect.

How will you communicate with me?
Communication is not always easy once a building project has started; other priorities can get in the way. If you want to have regular communication with the builder you need to arrange when it will happen, and how.

What guarantees are there?
Problems do sometimes happen, after building work has been completed. This is why you need to know how long the work is guaranteed for and what is covered by the guarantee.

What availability do you need from me?
There is no point booking to go away on holiday if the builders need you to be available at a certain time. Knowing when you will need to be available means that you can make plans accordingly.

When will payments be due?
It’s usual for a deposit to be paid at the start of a building project, followed by installments and a balancing payment on completion. Make sure that you know when you need to make payments so that the finances are in place in time.

Who will be involved with the project and when?
It’s a good idea to check who is involved with the building work and when they are likely to be working on the project. Knowing this helps to keep your home secure as you are aware of who should be there and who should not.

All of these questions are important to ask before you sign a contract with a building contractor.


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