Secrets to a perfect relationship with your builder


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The FMB reveals the secret to a perfect relationship with your builder. It’s easy to point the finger at your builder when a project looks like it’s going wrong, but according to the latest research from the Federation of Master Builders, most building projects succeed or fail on the strength of the relationship between builder and customer, and key to that relationship is good communication.

It’s no surprise that customers want the job to finish on budget and builders want to be paid on time. Money aside, it seems that the most important attribute of a good builder, according to a staggering 83% of customers, is one who turns up on time.

What was more surprising was the number of builders who expressed disappointment at not being thanked. So one simple way to keep your builder happy is to thank them – something you can forget when living with the upheaval of a building project.


Many people’s houses are a projection of themselves and customers can feel very defensive when letting strangers into their homes. Like any relationship it’s important to have an understanding of how both parties tick, so you can work around each other and fit into each other’s lives.
— Corinne sweet

“UK builders have had a hard time of it recently with tabloid stories about ‘cowboy’ builders out to make a fast buck damaging the reputation of the industry”, says Ian Davis, director general of the FMB. “This can mean homeowners are often more wary of their builders than ever before.”

“Our latest research reveals that most of the problems that arise during building projects are caused by a breakdown in communication and a lack of understanding between clients and builders,” says Davis. “Every year we run the Master Builder Builder of the Year awards – the FMB’s nationwide search for Britain’s best builder, as nominated by a satisfied customer. Last year we had over 1,000 entries from delighted homeowners whose relationships had worked, because the customers realised that it’s not just down to builders to make a building project successful.”

“Thanks to good communication and mutual respect from the outset, not only did the customers and builders establish a good working relationship, many became firm friends too,” continues Davis. “Customers told us about builders who had carried in their shopping, collected their children from school in emergencies, fed their pigs, kept quiet during children’s hours of sleep and rescued customers when their car had broken down.”

Psychologist Corinne Sweet, says that trust and honesty are key to a good relationship. “Many people’s houses are a projection of themselves and customers can feel very defensive when letting strangers into their homes. Like any relationship it’s important to have an understanding of how both parties tick, so you can work around each other and fit into each other’s lives.”

“The FMB research shows that simply being thanked and having their work appreciated by a customers is an important part of the building relationship, as is being paid on time,” explains Corinne.

Follow the FMB’s top tips to a perfect relationship with your builder:

 

Check them out

You must make sure you trust your builder and that you both understand how you will work together, to be sure you are a good match.


Use a contract

Draw up a written contract, with an agreed timetable that both you and the builder are happy with.


Be realistic

Builders aren’t mind readers, so if your project is not going to plan you must spell it out, explain what you want, and discuss the options.


Keep talking

Good communication is essential. If you want to make changes during the job, ensure that you understand any implications they may have to avoid a shock at the end. 


Be available

Make sure you let you builder know when you will be around in case they need you to make any quick decisions. If you go out, provide contact numbers. 


Just ask

If you don’t understand building jargon just ask – this will ensure there are no nasty surprises and you know what to expect.


Pay promptly

Set out a timetable for how and when payment will take place throughout the project, so that you can plan ahead. When you get to each stage, check you are happy with the work and pay promptly.


 
Harry Haines