There is a television show that we watch occasionally, not by choice really, and only because there is nothing better to watch. In my humble opinion it’s not a very well-produced show, but it highlights the damage that can be done by inexperienced or dodgy builders.
People lament the fact that the builder has left a staircase unfinished or close ups of exposed and live cables in the kitchen come at you hard and fast, relaying the horror that the home owner has experienced in the process of having their “dream turn into a nightmare”.
It is very clear in these types of shows, that the one person who held all the power in the transaction at the very beginning of the building process was the owner. Had he or she done a little bit of homework in finding the very best contractor for their particular job, there never would have been a market for dodgy builders to ply their trade.
One of the first questions these home owners are asked is “where did you find him?” Answers such as a friend of my cousin’s boyfriend’s father, the yellow pages or a pamphlet from the town planning department – can you believe it? These just don’t cut it! You’re paying a lot of money to have a build done, whether it is a new toilet or a whole new house. When choosing a house builder, find out, ask the right questions. If you know of a build that has recently been done nearby and you like what you see, go and ask the owners if they might guide you through their builder selection process. Word of mouth is good but when you can really see the workmanship in a finished product, well then you know you are on to a winner.
Speak to other tradesman in the business such as electricians, plumbers, even cabinetry specialists, they all know who the dodgy workmen are and those they are willing to work with – never just ask one person for their opinion either, ask a selection of people and if a name keeps coming up, note it down and do your research.
Most good builders have some sort of social media exposure, be it a web site or a Facebook page, check it out, ask for a portfolio of work and get those valuable references from happy customers (with phone numbers). A good builder will only be too happy to pass on the phone numbers of their happy customers, it’s great for business!
Many people in these shows have always said that they didn’t feel right asking questions when the job wasn’t going well. Never be afraid to ask questions and ensure that your builder understands all your concerns. Make sure he has an answer for each one of them before you even put your signature down on a building contract. Ask your builder the questions about the structural parts of the build that you might not understand but that could impact yours and your family’s safety later on.
Ultimately, the television show ends after the presenter has brought in a team of good contractors to sort out the mess made by the original contractor. Reality Television unfortunately does not happen for everyone and so I would suggest following the advice above and you will never find yourself in the position of having to say “If only….”