Making the decision to have your house renovated is rarely taken lightly so when things don’t go exactly to plan, it’s easy for a dispute with your builders to arise. In this article, we’re looking at some common disputes and how they can be avoided…
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Whether you’re going to refresh a room or add an extension to your home, renovation work can be a stressful business. When things don’t go the way you anticipated, it’s easy for tensions to rise and hostility to build.
So, to reduce your chances of having to involve the likes of construction dispute solicitors, below we’ll take a look at different ways you can avoid a dispute with a builder.
An Informed Choice
When hiring a builder to undertake your renovation work, you need to bear in mind the fact that this person is going to be in your life for a significant amount of time. You should always thoroughly research your builder beforehand. It’s also a good idea to meet with the builder a couple of times to see if you get along. A personality clash can often exacerbate issues during a project, and you end up in a dispute. Part of your due diligence should be checking that your chosen builder holds adequate and correct insurance policies to cover the project from start to finish.
When embarking on any type of renovation project you will, of course, want to know how much it’s going to cost you. Things can soon turn ugly if the cost of your project starts to spiral out of control. To avoid this sort of conflict, it’s important that you insist that your builder provides you with an accurate, signed estimate for the entire job. You should also assert that should additional costs arise, then this will need to be communicated and approved by you beforehand.
The ultimate goal of your renovation project is to align the vision in your head with the finished work. To do this, you need to have frank discussions with your builder which may require you to take their professional advice on making the odd amendment. You should also make sure that your builder provides drawings or blueprints to make sure that you’re both on the same page with respect to the end result.
Communication with your builder is a vital part of the process and it’s important to strike the right balance. At the beginning of the project, agree with your builder on (a) how communication will be made, i.e., by telephone or by email and (b) how often communication will be made.
It’s only natural that you’ll want your builder to keep you abreast of what’s going on with your project but badgering them with countless phone calls will usually prove counterproductive. Settling the terms of communication up front is a really good way of avoiding conflict which could ultimately lead to a dispute.
There’s nothing more frustrating than being told that your project is going to take two months – only for it to then drag on for several more. You should always ask your builder to give you a realistic estimate as to how long the job will take. You will also need to be as flexible as possible as issues can arise that add time to a renovation project. These issues also tend to be beyond the control of your contractor.
During your renovation project, you can expect a certain amount of disruption, and this will usually mean that your builder and their team will require access to your house and its facilities. Before the work begins, it’s a good idea to agree on ground rules with your builder to prevent a problem from occurring. In most cases, as long as you are reasonable your builder will usually be happy to accommodate your requests.
One of the most effective ways of preventing a dispute with your builders is to insist on regular updates. By making sure that you’re kept in the loop at all times, you can head off any potential problems. If you are not living on the site, it’s a good idea to ask for photographs to accompany these updates to help you to make sure that everything remains on track throughout the project.
Getting on with Your Builder
While this may seem like a lot to digest, the key to avoiding a dispute with your builder will almost always boil down to communication. As well as communicating your wishes and vision to your builder, it’s also important to listen to their advice – even if it may not be what you want to hear. This can help you to manage your expectations and make sure that the end result is one that you are happy with and has no nasty surprises.
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained legal professional. Be sure to consult a construction lawyer/solicitor if you’re seeking advice on construction disputes. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.