Top tips for securing the right building contractor
Appointing the right contractor is key to the success of any building project.
But finding building contractors, particularly ones with the specialist knowledge and skills required to work on listed or historic properties, is getting harder.
There are concerns that contractors may be in increasingly short supply over the coming months because the construction industry has been hit by high levels of insolvencies.
The Insolvency Service estimates that just over 4,200 building contractors went out of business during the twelve months to the end of June 2023, falling victim to the ‘perfect storm’ of high material and energy costs, supply chain issues, rising interest rates and unpaid bills.
According to the Federation of Master Builders’ most recent State of Trade survey there has been a downturn in demand for house building over recent months, which may be another factor behind the higher level of insolvencies, although to counter that there has been a resurgence in demand for repair, maintenance and improvement work.
However, ongoing labour shortages also mean that half of FMB members reported that they had jobs which had been delayed because they are struggling to hire skilled workers.
Against this challenging backdrop, our advice for property owners who are contemplating any building projects in 2024 is to get their tender packs out as soon as possible.
Contractors typically like to map out their work for the coming year ahead of Christmas, so will be looking to pin down potential projects over the next few weeks.
Given that the best contractors will be able to pick and choose their work, they are likely to be looking for clients who can supply:
1. A detailed specification of works: The key here is to be specific about what is required as part of the build, drilling down into details such as paint colours and manufacturers’ details. Ultimately, this helps both the client and the contractor – contractors are able to price accurately, and clients should receive exactly what they are expecting. Vagueness can often be the primary cause of disputes.
2. Accurate and annotated drawings: A drawing improves clarity as it can be easier to read/interpret nuances with a visual than through written text.
3. A single point of contact to deal with over the lifespan of the project: This helps to improve clarity by offering a consistency of approach. Strutt & Parker has a Building Consultancy team which offers complete project management services from start to finish for all residential construction projects. Contact Alex Macfarlane for more details.
Strutt & Parker has a Building Consultancy team which offers complete project management services from start to finish for all residential construction projects. Contact Alex Macfarlane for more details.