Wednesday, 16 March 2011 7:22 PM
If you want to make substantial changes to your home then rather than tackling the job yourself, you will need the services of professional tradesmen.
Carrying out such alterations can often be a disruptive experience, so to minimise the stress and impact on your life, it is important that you pick the right person to do the job.
In the case of building work, you will need to find builders in your area before selecting one that you trust for the job.
Whether you want a new conservatory, to add an extension to your property or to carry out a loft conversion, you should employ the services of a highly-trained professional.
But looking for a builder can be a daunting process, especially if you have never had any experience of the sector.
One of the best ways to find a tradesman is to use referrals from people you know, but if you don't have anyone who can point you in the right direction then there are some things you can do to ensure you find a builder that meets your needs.
When you start your search for a builder, you should make sure that you have a clear idea of the project you want to undertake - this should not only include any building work, but also activities such as clearing the site after the work is complete.
There are certain questions you should ask when you approach builders with a view to employing them to work on your home.
Firstly, ask them about previous projects and, if possible, get them to show you some of their work; find out how long they have been in business and also enquire as to whether they will offer you a guarantee.
Secondly, you should check whether they are a member of any trade organisations - such as the National Federation of Builders or the Chartered Institute of Building - and don't just take their word for it, call the industry body to confirm their claim.
When it comes to the price, make sure that you know what is and is not included in the cost of carrying out the work - such as materials - and get all of the information in writing.
You should always get estimates from at least two or three builders in your area to give you a good picture of the services on offer from your local tradesmen.
Another thing to ask is whether the builder is insured in case of both damage to property and personal liability to cover accident and injury.
It is important that you take the time to find a builder that you get on with. Don't forget that you will have to see them every day while they complete the work on your home.
As well as building work, you may want to employ the services of a carpenter to fit cupboards or build custom furniture.
Finding carpenters in your area presents you with a similar task to choosing a builder.
You will want to make sure that you employ someone who works to a high standard.
While there is no official body for carpenters like there is with builders, you can always enquire about their qualifications and where they learned their trade.
Apprenticeships with organisations such as the National Association of Home Builders, Associated General Contractors or the Associate Builders and Contractors are a good indication of a skilled tradesman.
Carpenters can be listed as licensed or registered once they have received their qualification, so looking out for this is also advisable.
If possible, you should ask to see some work by each of the carpenters you are considering - this is especially important if you are looking for someone to carry out a complicated project.
Ask plenty of questions about the wood that can be used for your job - in addition to finding out about cost - you should make sure you pick one which meets all your needs and is durable.
It is also important to get a timeframe for the work and to find out whether the carpenter will need to spend time in your home to carry out the project, or if it can predominantly be completed at their workshop.
As with builders, you should make sure you ask for quotes from two or three professionals before making your choice.
If you find the idea of searching for builders or carpenters daunting then don't worry - there are ways to make the process easier.
Using a website such as Rated People is one way to minimise the stress and effort involved. You simply need to post details of the job you want doing and the date you need it completed by on our website.
Interested tradesmen in your area can then supply you with quotes and you can use ratings from other customers to help you make your decision.