Last Updated on November 4, 2014 by Mark Lavington
Top tips for selecting a building contractor for your holiday home
Autumn is a time when many holiday homeowners look to reinvigorate or renovate their properties for next season. Whilst some alternations will be merely superficial in nature – updating your decor or the change of an item of furniture for example, other developments may prove to be more substantial in size and require external help and advice.
If you’re due to be carrying out a project on your holiday home that will require a building contractor, here’re some helpful tips to increase your chances of choosing the right one and having a project that delivers on time and within budget.
Selecting a builder
- Before contacting a builder make sure you have a full understanding of the alterations you would like to make to your holiday home. If appropriate, take professional advice and ensure that you have an outline of the works required written down.
- Some holiday homeowners will not live in close proximity to their property. If you don’t have local knowledge of reputable contractors the Federation Of National Builders (fmb.org.uk) has a list of approved builders.
- Always get more than one quote and ensure they’ve all quoted for the same thing. Large price differences can often occur when alternative approaches are suggested. If this is the case ask for the potential pros and cons of each methodology so you’re able to make an informed decision on the cost.
- Be sure to ask for the contact details of a few previous customers so you can talk to them about their experiences and the quality of work they’ve receieved.
The next steps
- It’s advised that if you’re hiring a builder for complex or major building works, you both enter into a JCT contract. These are standardised contracts, guidance notes and other forms of documentation designed specifically for the construction industry. You can find these at jctltd.co.uk
- Ensure that you and your builder complete the entire contract and that there is a thorough understanding of the arrangements of the work, along with who will pay for any specification of drawings that may be needed.
- Make sure that a payment structure is laid out and that this includes payment after the completion of certain phases of your build. Make sure these phases are specific and not ambiguous. If materials need to be purchased some builders may ask for you to pay in advance. Only consider doing this for materials that need to be specially made offsite for work to commence on your holiday home.
- If you live away from your holiday home give thought to how the project will be managed. How will you communicate with your builders? How will you ensure that supplies are ordered when they need to be and that work is on schedule and budget? Having these communication channels in place throughout the project will be vital to your success.
Do you need to tell your insurer?
If you’re having work carried out on your holiday home the need to inform your insurer will depend on the work being completed.
Works can be placed into two categories:
- Minor works: These may be completed without reference to your insurers and include when workmen are allowed into your holiday home to carry out minor repairs, alterations or general maintenance, along with any internal or external decoration when the work does not require scaffolding.
- Major works: You will need to inform your insurer when your holiday home undergoes major structural alterations or repair and when external scaffolding is to be used.
No matter the nature of the developments you are undertaking, you should always consider the impact the works will have on the potential costs of rebuilding your holiday home and ensure that you have the right level of buildings insurance cover in place.
If any of our holiday homeowners are in doubt if they should be contacting us we suggest that you do give us a call.
Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444.