Finding the right builder for your project is essential to its success. Embarking on a construction project, whether big or small, can be both exciting and daunting. However, your choice of builder will determine not just the outcome of the construction, but also your peace of mind throughout the process. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to find a builder who meets your needs and expectations.

Finding The Right Builder – Take Your Time

First and foremost, resist the urge to rush into decisions. Take your time to consider all options thoroughly. Rushing into a decision can result in regrets later. Be 100% confident in the builder you engage to carry out the work for you.

Check Builder’s Qualifications

Finding the right builder - Scaffolding around a building project
  • It is advisable to select a builder with traceable qualifications. Try to choose a builder from a trusted source, like the National Federation of Builders or Federation of Master Builders. Always request proof of membership and, for added peace of mind, directly confirm their membership with the trade association. Likewise, look for a builder with a CSCS card (Construction Skills Certificate Scheme), as proof that they possess the appropriate training and qualifications to complete the job. Other qualifications include NVQs (National Vocational Qualifications), the higher the level, the better the qualification. An NVQ level 7, for example, is the equivalent of a degree.
  • Many people select a builder based on word of mouth, a referral from a friend, for example. This gives you the opportunity to check out their previous work and talk to their clients to establish their suitability. Indeed, this is good practice whether referred to you or not.
  • Remember, specialised trades, like Gas Plumbers and Electricians have specific qualifications. Plumbers fitting gas appliances must be Gas Safe Registered, whilst electricians should be registered to a Competent Person Scheme such as NICEIC or ELECSA.

Check The Builder’s Knowledge

  • A competent builder should demonstrate a sound knowledge of current building regulations and be willing to engage with Building Control services on your behalf. This ensures that your project complies with legal requirements and safety standards.
  • Look for builders who are passionate about their work and understand your requirements. Building a good working relationship is crucial for the success of your project. Choose someone who shares your vision and communicates effectively.
  • Consider whether your project requires a specialist company or a general builder. A general builder who can coordinate all trades and act as a Project Manager may streamline the process and minimise potential issues. Project management can be very time-consuming especially if you have no experience in this. Poor project management can prove costly both financially and in time.

Further Checks You Should Complete

  • Check through reviews for your shortlist of builders thoroughly. Search on Facebook, Google and Trustpilot, to name but a few. Read the reviews carefully and pay attention to how the builder responds to the reviews, particularly any negative ones. How they deal with problems can be a great indicator of their professionalism.
  • Check out the registered address for the builder to ensure it is legitimate. Additionally consider how professional they are dealing with your queries.
  • In dealing with your queries their response should be in a professional manner with consideration of your requirements.



Finding the right builder - A digger creating a channel in the back garden

Obtaining Quotes

Following the advice outlined above it is advisable to select a minimum of 3 builders from trusted sources and ask them for quotes. Meet with them, discuss your project and ideas and get a feel for their experience. This is also a perfect opportunity to see if you can build a good working relationship with them. Be sure you give as much detail as possible to ensure you get an accurate quote, and don’t forget to outline your budget! To be confident that the quotes reflect the price you will end up paying be sure to include the following in your Tender document:

Finding the right builder - construction of a new door and extension.
  • A concise brief that lays out what you want or do not want.
  • Plans or Drawings suitable for Building Control purposes if required.
  • Structural Calculations.
  • Full specification of the requirements of the project including Selected finishes and fittings schedule for each area/room.
  • Will the Builder act as project manager, hiring all trades required and ordering materials or will you be doing this? (See section below titled Project Manager)
  • Planning Consent details.
  • Start Date.
  • Anticipated timescales.
  • Details on site access.

Further Important Requirements

Further considerations include verifying essential details as listed here:

  • Are they VAT Registered?
  • Are they Registered with Companies House? (You can check online)
  • Do they have an up-to-date Health and Safety Policy?
  • Check their insurance certificates including one that covers them for Public Liability.
  • Consider taking out homeowner’s insurance to protect your property during construction in addition to the builder’s cover.

The Importance of a Building Contract

Before building work starts you should ensure you have a fixed price for the work to be completed including all materials required. This should include a written guarantee and that this will be honoured by a UK based Insurance company if the builder ceases trading.

A building contract is essential to outline the agreed works, payment terms, and procedures for changes or delays. Clarify “what if” scenarios and ensure both parties understand their responsibilities. For example, what if the work takes longer than agreed? Also, how much are the additional costs?

Overall, a building contract serves as a roadmap for the construction project, guiding the parties through each stage from planning and execution to completion and payment. It provides clarity, protection, and accountability, which are essential for a successful project.

Project Manager

In your quest to finding the right builder, consider them serving as your project manager as this offers several advantages.

  • Firstly, it streamlines communication and coordination, as the builder is intimately familiar with the project’s details, timelines, and requirements. This reduces the likelihood of miscommunication or delays between different parties involved in the construction process.
  • Secondly, having the builder as the project manager can enhance accountability, as they are directly responsible for overseeing the work and ensuring that it meets quality standards and stays within budget.
  • Thirdly, the builder’s expertise in construction means they can effectively anticipate and mitigate potential challenges or issues that may arise during the project, leading to smoother progress and fewer disruptions.
finding the right builder - builders constructing a new wall to the house extension


Should you decide to oversee this role yourself, be aware of potential pitfalls. You could end up prepping the space or materials between each of the trades required, as you won’t benefit from the labour provided by a building contractor. This could also result in not having the correct trades at the appropriate time. Therefore, having your builder double as your project manager can result in a more efficient, cohesive, and ultimately successful construction experience.

Final Considerations

new extension filled with building materials
  • Beware of relying solely on TV-advertised tradespeople; credentials may not be thoroughly vetted as they pay for membership.
  • Plan your living arrangements during construction, building work is messy and noisy!
  • Agree the staged payments with your builder and put this into your final contract.
  • Establish any planned holidays that your builder or their trades team may have as this could affect the completion dates.
  • Select fixtures and fittings ahead of time. This will prevent delays in ordering and delivery that could hold up progress of work.
  • Ensure you have a firm point of contact established with your selected builder, and they know how to get hold of you!

Enjoy the Journey

Lastly, embrace the process and enjoy the journey. With careful planning and the right builder by your side, your construction project can be a rewarding experience.

In conclusion, finding the right builder requires diligence, patience, and thorough research. By following these guidelines and considering all aspects of the selection process, you can embark on your construction journey with confidence. If you require an Architectural Designer to help you with your building project, then please contact Caroline at SEAGREY Design.