Tradespeople part 2: Local builders

In part 2 of 7 where we discuss the professionals you’ll need for a self-build, we talk about local builders and what they’re responsible for.

local builders

It goes without saying what local builders do for a living. Every kind of construction needs a builder of some kind to implement its main structure.

With most self-build homes, local builders will normally be the first ones to start work after the ground workers. However, what part of the construction the builder is responsible for all depends what material you’re building your home with. If you’re building with a timber frame, this will be put up before the builder does anything else. They’ll then clad the exterior with brick, or whatever other material you’re constructing with (though the most common and advisable material is indeed brick).

Local builders will then build up to the roof level for most types of property. They will communicate with other professionals such as plumbers and electricians so that any pipes, wiring and drainage is fitted according to what’s feasible. They may also have to work with a carpenter if any timber beams are being used to support flooring as their assistance may be required when they’re being fitted into the walls.

Local builders’ work isn’t restricted to the property walls if you don’t want it to be. Some can come back whenever you want them to construct garden walls and internal structures which need to be built into the main frame of the house.

Some of them don’t require window and door frames to be available to them while they work, as complete units are often fitted after construction. Enquire about this when contacting local builders.

How involved do I have to be with their work?

It might help to be on site every now and then. Not to keep an eye on the builder and how well they’re doing, but to see if they need any assistance with interpreting the job at hand or so they can let you know if there’s going to be a problem. If you’re unable to either be at the site within an hour or you have a full-time daily job, before embarking on your self-build project you should consider hiring a design and build company. You can then be as included in the construction process as you can make time for.

Local builders should be able to manage on their own, but it never hurts to keep in regular contact to see how things are going.

Where can I find local builders and how much do I have to pay?

There are many websites out there which you can search for builders on, such as this one. Builders are huge in number, and there are plenty of reviews around so you can check the quality of their previous work. Never forget to ask for recommendations from friends, family or other professional tradespeople. Everyone knows a bad builder, but everyone also knows of good local builders that they can recommend to you.

Builders’ charges vary massively according to how long they’ve been in business and what their service includes, so call up several and compare your results. As with any profession, enquire whether they charge a fixed price and the likelihood that it could go up or down. You should worry if a local builder doesn’t sound confident that their work won’t incur extra charges in case of delays to the work schedule or availability of resources.

Tradespeople part 3: Local plumbers.

Image: John Keogh

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