Birmingham City Council

What to consider when choosing a builder

Here are some tips to help you when you get in touch with an approved builder.

  1. Decide what it is you want done
  2. Make sure it's legal
  3. Getting the job done
  4. Play fair with traders
  5. When the job is done
  6. Why use an approved contractor?


Decide what it is you want done

Draw up a list of the things you want done and keep a copy for future reference. The more detail you can give the builders the easier it will be for him or her to price the job and tell you how long it will take.

Make sure it's legal

Before work begins you should check whether you need to get planning permission or approval under the Building Regulations Act. You can ask the builder or you can read more about planning applications and building regulations on this website. If you are in any doubt you can contact us for more information. Call 0121 303 1115 for enquiries about planning permission.

Getting the job done

When you've decided which builder to use, tell them that you accept their quotation and wish to proceed. For larger jobs you may want to agree stage payments.
Write down and agree the following:
  • work that's been agreed
  • price, including VAT
  • start and finish dates
  • start and finish times, weekend working?
  • Any items or goods you have agreed to provide
  • payment arrangements, including any stage payments.

Play fair with builders

Try to avoid changes to the job once the contract has been drawn up and the price agreed. If you have to make changes, agree them in writing with the builder. Ask the builder for a revised price and start and finish dates.
If you have agreed to make stage payments, pay promptly - provided you are happy that each stage has been completed properly.

When the job is done

Check that all the work detailed in your contract has been done and that you are happy with it. The builder should leave your home tidy. If there is a problem however, mention it straightaway to the builder and get it put right. Don't wait for the invoice to arrive before you say you are unhappy.
Pay within 14 days of the final invoice, unless the builder has agreed to a different period.

Why use an Approved Contractor

These contractors have been assessed under the previous Quality Mark Scheme and have been able to demonstrate that they comply with requirement of Health and Safety and Race Relations legislation, have an acceptable financial base and hold adequate insurance cover. This may cost slightly more initially than using a cowboy, but you'll avoid being ripped off and having to get the job done again. Always avoid contractors who offer cash in hand deals at reduced prices. They may not be legitimate and you won't have a contract or any comebacks if the job goes wrong.
However, by using any of these builders, no responsibility for any loss or consequential loss occasioned by any person as a result of employing any approved contractor named on the list can be accepted by Birmingham City Council or any officer of Birmingham City Council.