Finding Good Tradespeople
August 1, 2015
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Speaking to your builder

A close friend of mine is undertaking a major refurbishment at the moment and is struggling with the builders. The builder has stopped communicating with the client, stopped turning up regularly and stopped delivery a good quality finish when he does turn up. This is the most frustrating stage of any project for both the builder and the client, from the clients point of view they are so nearly finished but can’t put their home back together or do the post-builder deep clean because there is still ongoing works. For the builder it can be a frustrating time as they need to move on to the next job so they can start earning. Its likely they have made promises to the next client about start dates, if you’re job has been delayed they will be feeling under even more pressure.

It’s times like this that communication is crucial otherwise all paths break down and no one ends up happy. A few compromises on your part might make your life easier in the long run. Rather then focussing on what hasn’t been done try if you can to agree a time with the builder that things will be completed. Invite them round at a time that is convenient to them so they dob’t feel under pressure and go through the list of outstanding works point by point. Make a list yourself, don’t rely on the builder to do it, then send that list as an email with an agreed date of finish. If this agreed date passes with still no further work going on, don’t just leave it and get frustrated. Contact the builder again and explain that the deal has been broken. If you aren’t getting a response it would be worth getting a quote from someone else to finish the works. Send this to your original builder with a note to say that you will be contracting someone else to finish if he or she can’t commit to finishing by a certain date and deduct the new quote from what you owe the current builder.

There are some builders out there who aren’t particularly worried about their reputation or doing the right thing, but these are thankfully few and far between. Most builders just need a bit of time and understanding if a job has gotten out of hand. Give the builder the benefit of the doubt whilst trying to manage a solution and hopefully you’ll reach a mutual resolution. But remember builders are people too, they have pressures from home life, accountants, bank managers, other clients so if you can be the ‘reasonable’ one in their pressure tunnel perhaps you will be the one that gets the job finished to the standard and in the timeframe you require.

Top tips for communicating with your builder

  1. Follow up anything verbal with email or text so you both have a recording to refer back to
  2. Communicate regularly about the status of the job and what your expectations are
  3. Tell your builder if there is an important date that you need the job to be finished by like a family member visiting
  4. Be open and try to understand your builders other pressure points

Good luck and call me if you need any help.

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