Home Improvement Guide

Having building work done on your home can be a source of investment and enjoyment. Like all investments, you should take your time and ensure you are dealing with a reputable firm. By following simple, smart advice, you can ensure a result you'll be proud of.



Plan ahead

House

Get a good idea of what you want before contacting a contractor. Consider your budget, and the time frame in which you want the improvements completed.

Contact Chelbuild, and one of our friendly experts will be happy to offer advice on how long the job may take, and an approximate price range for the work. 



Finance

You need to decide how you will finance the work. Improvements made to your home can significantly increase the value of your property. If you have money available, an ideal way to invest is in an extension - not only will it raise the value of your property, it will also enable you to enjoy the increased space and functionality of your home.

One way to raise funds for the work is through re-mortgaging your home - speak to your mortgage provider about this.



Architectural plans

Plans

Get in touch with an architect to discuss having plans drawn. There are many to choose from in the Yellow Pages. For reassurance, choose one which is a member of the Royal Institute of British architects  Some offer a free initial consultation.

The architect will have the plans drawn and submitted to the local authority. They will examine the plans to verify that they are in order. This can take up to 8 weeks. During this time, it is a good idea to begin getting estimates for the work.

Estimates

Never pay for an estimate for building work. A reputable builder will never charge you for this service. Always arrange to meet the proprietor in person. This will allow you to assess the level of service you can expect. Note whether the builder is actually interested in the the work and you, the customer. This can give you an idea of how committed they are to your building project.

Choosing a builder

The only true indication of a builder's credibility is the work he has already carried out. So it's essential to follow up references, to ensure that they are genuine. Here are some questions you should ask referees:  

  • Was the quality of the work what you anticipated (or even better)?

  • Was the work completed on time?

  • Did the work cause disruption to you?

  • Was the builder reliable?

Choose a recommended builder - either by a friend or a professional association. Don't fall for a smart-talking salesperson or a 'cowboy' builder. If you know the builder has completed quality work in the past, then that's a good sign.

Cheapest isn't always best. High quality materials and expert workmanship do not usually come at a low price. Important things to look for are whether the job will be completed on time and whether your property will be left tidy. If a price seems too good to be true, you should check the builder's references for reassurance.

Don't pay a deposit. There is no need to part with your cash at least until work has been started. If the builder requires payment up-front, ask why, and ask yourself whether you really trust them.

Good builders are in high demand and they may not be able to start the work immediately. It is usually worth the wait - this ensures the utmost care and attention to detail for your home improvements.



Starting the work

Handshake

Once you have chosen a builder, they can start work as soon as planning permission is granted. Ask for regular updates about how the work is progressing, and feel free to ask any questions.

Pay for the work by cheque, if possible. Always get a receipt or invoice for payments, and keep this in a safe place.

And finally, remember that care when choosing a builder will result in a job well done, and ensures utmost satisfaction with your home improvements.




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