Hiring a building contractor

You may think you can save money by rolling your sleeves up and getting stuck into a building or refurbishing job on your property. How hard can it be to replace a few wobbly tiles? Or to clean the property’s stonework?Be warned - it can be more problematic than you think. It is far wiser to hire a professional building contractor. Indeed, it is often cheaper to get the job done properly in the first place, rather than calling someone in to fix your mistakes.Save yourself problems in the long run by making crystal clear what it is that you want the builder to do. Use sketches and photos of examples to make sure there is absolutely no confusion. If you leave even a tiny margin for error, you might end up paying for something you did not request.

When can I employ a building contractor?

Whether you have just moved into a new property, or want to have work done on your existing house to increase the value before you sell it, building contractors have a vast array of skills at your disposal. If you want to refurbish your home, make sure you do your research and find out the services on offer.Builders do not only construct extensions. Stone cleaning, paint removal, pointing, painting, plaster work, joinery and masonry are just a few other services for which you can employ a building contractor.A quick way to smarten up your home is to invest in a new driveway. This is a relatively simple job, and is a service which many builders will offer. It should not take a long time to complete, and causes minimal disruption because it is not your house which is being worked on.Builders should offer you a choice of design and material – from bricks to tarmac and paving slabs. The material you choose will affect the price of the service. Have a look at Drives By Design to get an idea of the different designs on offer.Building restoration is a skilled profession. If you live in a very old or listed property, and you want the external stonework cleaning and restoring, it is vital you hire a professional firm which is used to dealing with similar properties. The contractor should be able to tell you about traditional and more modern techniques, and will be able to discuss the most suitable method for your property.For instance, B Williamson & Daughters Ltd is a Surrey-based company which specialises in restoring, repairing and cleaning stone, brick, stucco and ironwork. When you've found a company who specialises in the desired field, be sure to look at their website and read about examples of previous work – for example, B Williamson & Daughters Ltd have carried out restoration work for Hever Castle in Kent, The British Museum and Westminster Council, as well as private customers.Investing in refurbishment work sooner rather than later can save you money in the long run. Your roof in particular can be an expensive liability if it suddenly starts to leak. If you know it is looking a little worse for wear, call in a professional now to highlight problem areas. It may be cheaper to patch them up now, than paying for a re-tiling job next year.Ask the builder if he has many other jobs on at the moment. It is a good sign if his skills are in demand. However, if he is juggling three jobs and trying to squeeze in your work too, your job may not have his full concentration. It is also likely to take longer than if he was solely working on your property.