building contractor.jpg

Choosing your building contractor

Ever been let down by a building contractor? Experienced unfinished works and the builder cannot be traced? Paid your deposit and never seen the builder again? Reached the end of a project only to find a long list of hidden extras?
We’ve all heard nightmare stories like these, or seen the TV programmes that document such fiascos.
As a result, the property maintenance and general building trades often have a bad reputation, due to a handful of individuals who cannot deliver on the promises they make.
In order to avoid such a catastrophe, it is well worth doing your homework, looking into things like experience, reputation and reliability.
Does your preferred building contractor have the necessary experience to complete the works as promised? Investigate factors such as: How long have they been doing their chosen trade? How long have they been operating in the Algarve? Can they show you examples of their work?
This leads naturally onto reputation. Do you know anyone who has past experience in dealing with your preferred contractor? What can you find out about their reputation? For example, do they have a website showcasing past client testimonials?
The more you can find out about the contractor before you give them the green light, the less chance you will have of any nasty surprises later on. Plus, this will demonstrate their experience, reputation and reliability.
In addition to these factors, consideration should be given to the way in which a contractor approaches the situation. Remember the cliché about the builder who calculates the job on the “back of a fag packet”? Whilst this would be highly unexpected in the 21st century, ensure that your contractor has given the necessary due care and attention you deserve, and approached the situation in a professional manner.
For example, insist on a meeting at your property, where you can sit down and discuss the project in detail and ask as many relevant questions as possible. After all, they are the experts, make good use of your time with the contractor and use their years of experience and knowledge to get the best out of the situation.
Following this meeting, expect to receive a detailed written quotation, in laymen’s terms, explaining the processes involved, materials to be used, an estimate of the length of time required to complete the project and a fixed price.
Having all this in place will stand you in good stead, providing you with the necessary transparency to resolve any disagreements that may arise later on. Any building contractor who cannot provide this as a basic minimum should be avoided at all cost.
Finally, ensure that your chosen contractor has a bona fide Limited Company (Lda) to bolster their assurances of reliability, commitment and any guarantees they offer.
By Brett Hawkins
|| [email protected]
Brett Hawkins is the managing director of GMT 24:7, a local expert in all areas of general building and property maintenance, with offices in Lagos and Almancil. |