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How long does it take to find a builder?

When it comes to finding the best builder for the job, we recommend taking your time and leaving no stone unturned.

5 min read

After securing planning permission and (hopefully) putting together a comprehensive building regulations package, no doubt you’ll be raring to go on your build and finding the ideal contractor.

However, it's best to avoid making snap decisions. With so much of your budget on the line and your dream project hanging in the balance, the last thing you want to do is make a hasty decision that you end up paying for down the line.

To make sure you take the time to find the best builder for the job, our Connect team have put together these recommendations...

The average time it takes to appoint a builder

On average, we estimate it should take between 3-6 weeks for you to find a contractor and sign on the dotted line.

You should also be prepared to wait 3-4 weeks for your chosen contractor to mobilise and get on site. This could stretch out even longer during busy periods in the year, such as spring and summer.

For this reason, we recommend you give yourself some flexibility around timings and budget. By putting aside 10% of your construction costs, you should be able to cover any unexpected costs delays may cost you - both before and during your build.

What goes into this time

When it comes to finding a contractor, there are several stages you’ll need to go through. On a basic level, everyone will need to…

Meet with potential contractors (1-2 weeks)

When it comes to gathering quotes, we recommend you consider at least 3 different builders.

Our Connect service introduces you to vetted contractors who can help bring your designs to life during construction. We vet contractors by assessing them against a range of criteria amongst which are: whether they are Trustmark or FMB affiliated, whether they have the relevant insurances in place; an assessment of their past work; meeting minimum financial standards; and finally, references from both previous customers and trade.

Have potential contractors provide a quote (1-2 weeks)

In order to put together a quote (also known as a ‘tender’) your prospective contractors will need to make a visit to the proposed site, as well as review your building regulations package if you have one.

At Resi, we always recommend our customers opt for comprehensive building regulations drawings. It’ll really pay off during this stage, as builders will be able to thoroughly cost up your project, reducing the risk of unexpected fees further down the line. You should also see a quicker turnaround time, as the technical work done in the building regulations stage will stop your builders from having to use guesswork on their numbers.

Learn more about building regulations.

Putting together and signing the final contract (1 - 2 weeks)

Once they’ve properly evaluated your project, your contractor will go away and put together their proposed contract. This should detail everything from how they’ve cost your project, timings, work practices, suppliers, and (importantly) what insurance they have in place.

Learn more about construction and insurance.

Go through these contracts with a fine-toothed comb before you make your final decision. After all, once work starts, it’ll be very hard for you to switch to another builder - most contractors are hesitant to deal with another’s work.


Tips for selecting the best contractor

To make sure you make the best choice for your home, here are some top tips from our Connect team.

Check their finances

It’s important that you take the time to do a financial background check on your builder’s company. If you see any changes to the directors, this could be a red flag the company may have filed for bankruptcy in the past.

Protect yourself with the right payment plan

We recommend you agree to a payment plan that has you releasing funds when milestones have been met. These milestones should be the key stages of the build, such as your foundations, superstructure, roof installation, etc.

This will ensure the builder is the one funding the project, while also letting you stay in control of quality throughout construction. If you can perform quality checks at each milestone, this will provide further protection, and something a project manager can do on your behalf.

Check their references

At a minimum, you should speak to at least two previous clients. One from 6 months ago and another from 18 months. This should help give you an honest overview of your contractor’s current work practices, as well as showing how their work stands the test of time.

To be extra thorough, we also recommend speaking to a client that’s currently on-site to help round out your understanding of a contractor’s product delivery.

Contracts and insurance

Ask your contractor which contract they’ll be using. We always recommend homeowners go for a JCT contract, as this provides the most security and accountability.

You’ll also need to check all the relevant insurances are in place. Our team at Resi Finance can help you to understand what you need to have in place, as well as source the best policies on offer.

Check the details

When it comes to your quote, the devil is in the detail. A good contractor should breakdown their pricing so you can check every design component has been properly costed. If your quote is too vague, ask your builder to be more transparent with their numbers.

Look for anomalies

Watch out for those ‘too good to be true’ quotes and turnarounds. Often, when a project is priced significantly lower than their counterparts, it can be a sign that key details have been left out, likewise with super quick time estimates.

If you’re unsure of whether or not to trust what’s on offer, speak to our team for advice.

Will you work well together?

How did you get on with the contractor? The rapport between you will be just as important to them as it is for you.

A lot of contractors are busy and if they're offered two potential contracts of similar value and start date, their decision will then be based on the relationship with the homeowner. After all, construction takes time and plans are liable to change. Having a good working relationship will make their job that much easier, as it will yours.

Finding the best builders with Connect…

Resi’s Connect service introduces you to local contractors to help you choose the right person for your project. To learn more about Connect, click here to book a free consultation with our team.

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Average time from survey to planning