Choosing a Contractor

Arts and Crafts House - a Stanton Andrews Architect's project

The selection of a suitable builder or contractor to undertake work to your home can be confusing. The internet is bursting with the names of tradesmen, but how do you determine the good, from the OKish and the cowboys.

Here are some pointers and also things to think about that may steer you in the right direction:


  • ask family and friends  – personal experience is always best.
  • ask local architects and surveyors for recommendations.


  • Once you find a suitable contractor, ask for references and more importantly contact the references.
  • Go and see some of the contractor’s recent work. Are you happy with the standard
  • Speak to the Local Authority’s building control department, they may be able to offer guidance.
  • Consider personalities. The builder will be in and around your home for a while – this can be unpleasant if you don’t get along.
  • Guarantees – Are they offering a guarantee on a large scale job? If it is a new build you will need a guarantee on the property.
  • Once you have a shortlist of builders, obtain detailed quotations.


  • Obtain competitive fixed price quotations. Remember price should not always be the ‘be all and end all’, you’ll be living with their handiwork for years to come.
  • Be straight about money – Agree payment terms clearly in writing with your builder.
  • Put the details of the job down in writing – outline what work is to be done, start/completion dates, security, safety, the cost of the work and materials, payment plans,
  • Also it is helpful to have a conversation about catering and lavatory arrangements, hours of work, cleaning up and disposal of waste materials.

Hopefully following this guide will ensure you get the right person for your job.


Thanks to National Federation of Builders for information in this article.