7 Things to Look For In A Building Contractor

Choosing a building contractor can be difficult. We’ve all heard about contractor nightmares on TV or from friends – cautionary tales about bodge jobs done by cowboy builders that leave buildings without a roof for months on end or worse. 

Luckily there are some great building contractors out there and if you know what to look out for then you’ll be able to find someone who’ll get your project completed on time and to a high standard. 

Here’s our top 7 things to look for in a building contractor…


1: A Long, Proven Track Record

A proven track record is a great sign that the building contractor will deliver on their promises. Once you have a building contractor in mind, find out how long they’ve been in business and ask if they can provide testimonials.

By doing this, you can understand their experience in the industry and learn more about the experience their past customers have had working with them. 

2: Transparent Quotes

Your quote should be clear, complete and easy to understand. Always ask for a quote to come in writing (usually by email) and not just be agreed verbally, as this gives you some backup if you need to query anything later on. 

Included in the quote should be:

  • Exactly what will be completed in the project. 
  • Whether materials are included or not.
  • What is NOT included.
  • Fees clearly explained ie. VAT or extras.

Including all of this in the quote protects your interests and prevents any confusion further into the project. A clear, comprehensive quote is also a sign that you’re dealing with a professional contractor. 

3: Insurance

Insurance is a must for any project. But be sure to check that your building contractor has comprehensive insurance that covers the type of work they’re completing for you too. 

The biggest red flag is a contractor without any public liability insurance. Insurances don’t just protect the contractor, they make sure you have a system of redress to follow if things go wrong or accidents happen. Protecting you, your property and even your people.


4: Speedy Response Time

You want to see signs of good customer service from the outset – a speedy response time is a good indicator of how you’ll be treated as a customer.

Does a contractor take weeks to reply to your first emails and calls? This could be due to poor customer service or because they are simply too busy for you or don’t have the organisational skills that you need in a contractor. 

Look for someone that replies quickly to your enquiries, gives full answers to your questions and seems to be happy to help you understand the needs of your project. 

5: Accreditation

Accreditation is a certificate of sorts. It’s proof that your contractor has trained specifically to work to particular standards. But even if you’re not that interested in the specific certifications, accreditation shows that the contractor is serious about what they do and can meet high standards. 

There are lots of accreditations different building contractors may have. The most common ones include:

  • ISO accreditations, like the ISO 9001 and ISO 4001, which ensure quality customer service and environmental management systems respectively
  • CHAS, proof of good health and safety processes

The more accreditations, the better as it means they have trained to these standards. And if you have specific interests, like environmentally friendly building, accreditations can help you select the contractor that fits your requirements perfectly.


6: More Than A One Man Band

Before you make your final decision on a building contractor, think about whether you want to work with a one-man band or a business with a bigger team.

Both options have their bonuses and drawbacks, but if you have an important or commercial project to get started on, an established contractor with a team could be right for you.

A team will have access to more people, more resources and a wider range of expertise. With a bigger team on hand, you’ve also got less chance of long downtimes. 

Imagine if your one-man band contractor fell ill and you had to hit pause on the job for a few months? You’d wish there was a larger team that could come in and continue work.

7: Honest Answers

This might seem obvious, but honest answers help you pick a building contractor you can really trust.

When you ask your contractor a question, you don’t want to hear confusing arguments or feel like they’re holding back advice. Clear communication is key to any project big or small, which is why honesty is so important in a contractor.

The Ideal Building Contractor Is…

Ideally, your chosen building contractor should be able to prove their track record with testimonials and case studies, give clear quotes with fast response times, and show up with accreditations and insurance.

A larger contractor might be better suited to your project if it’s important that you stay on schedule or for commercial projects, but most of all make sure you find a contractor you can trust.

GI Sykes has worked hard for over 55 years to tick all of these boxes so our clients know the job will get done – and it’ll get done right. If you’d like to talk to us to find out if we’re the right contractor for you, just get in touch here. 

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