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Four things you need to know when hiring builders

Whether you are refurbishing a buy to let property or renovating commercial premises on a much larger scale, you will probably consider hiring a building contractor. Contractors are experts in project management and can oversee the most complex of projects.  They are able to efficiently sub-contract the necessary work to local builders, electricians and plumbers but are ultimately responsible for the smooth running of the project.

Although they charge for their services, contractors can help ease the pressure by taking responsibility for the work involved. They also have access to a number of trust-worthy and professional tradesmen who are affordable.

Why do you need a contractor?

If you’re new to property developing, managing a project yourself may prove tricky. If you have a complex renovation project, you will need a clear structure and plan of what needs doing and when. A contractor can assess the scale of the project and organise a detailed schedule for you.

Experienced property developers will be used to the process of renovating property efficiently, but rarely is the labour undertaken by the individual, rather experienced contractors will be used. Moreover, if you have a full time-job, the extra help from a contractor can be very beneficial.

If you wish to refurbish historic or listed buildings, you will need special permission. A contractor can liaise with listing authorities to sort out the legalities and get the plans approved. 

What does a contractor do?

Below is a summary of a contractor’s key duties:

  • Obtaining surveys and building permits
  • Working closely with architects and builders
  • Managing a team of tradesmen
  • Arranging the removal or recycle of building waste
  • Ensuring the development site has temporary facilities
  • Keeping up-to-date records of cash-flow and expenses

How to find the right contractor

You can find a list of expert building contractors in the Building Conservation Directory. They specialise in the repair and restoration of historic buildings. To avoid getting a cowboy builder or contractor, make sure they are a member of the Federation of Master Builders.

It’s always a good idea to get quotes from at least three companies so you can compare services and fees. You need to be absolutely clear on what they offer as well as the level of responsibility they are willing to take on. Make sure you collect references and ask to see a portfolio of previous work to check they have appropriate experience. If they can’t offer you either of these, they probably won’t be up to the job.

Once you’ve found a contractor that you like, a contract will need to be drawn up for both of you to sign. Ensure you’re happy with the planned schedule for your project as well as the overall cost to get the work done. Also check with the contractor whether the set fee covers all of the building materials you need.

After contracts have been signed, it is standard practice to put down a deposit before the work can begin. You may then need to pay the rest in instalments, depending on the scale of the project.

Renovation finance

If you’re looking to renovate a run-down property, you will understand how tricky it is to secure a conventional mortgage. Renovation finance offers funding to cover the purchase and refurbishment of a property so it can be done up to a suitable standard. You will then be able to arrange more permanent funding. Renovation finance gives you the breathing space you need to focus on your development projects. If you would like to find out more, please contact our expert team or fill in our enquiry form.  

Happy renovating!

This information should not be interpreted as financial advice. Bridging loan rates are subject to change. Speak to our advisors for a loan illustration.