Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Getting the work started

  • Some building work needs planning permission and work that affects the structural strength of your property may need building regulations approval. The council's Planning Department can advise you about this.

  • Ask two or three builders to visit your property. Describe what you want done and ask their advice. Explain any restrictions you want to place on the work, for example, starting and finishing times, access, etc., or if you intend to carry out some of the work yourself.

  • Ask the builder to provide a written quotation which details the work to be undertaken and the cost. A good builder will advise you when you are wasting your money, for example, by carrying out a repair when replacement would give better value and vice versa.
  • Compare the prices. Make sure you have a quotation and not an estimate. A quotation is the price that will be charged provided you do not make extra requirements; an estimate is a guide to the cost and can change.

  • Consider using a contract. This is an agreement between you and the builder which defines how, when and at what cost the work will be done. A sample contract is attached below.

  • Once you have chosen the builder, agree a fixed start date and, if possible, a completion date. Make sure you have instructions in writing and keep a copy yourself. Any changes need to be in writing as well.

  • Do not pay for work before it starts. Agree to any changes to costs before the work is carried out. For small jobs the builder is usually paid at the end of the job. For larger projects, you may be expected to pay in stages. The amounts and times of these stages should be agreed before work starts.
  • Most work is usually carried out to everyone satisfaction. However, if a problem does arise, discuss it with the builder immediately. Do not wait until the job is completed. Keep a record of what was said and what was agreed including any extra costs.

  • If you are not satisfied with a job once completed and the builder is unable or unwilling to rectify work, you can ask our Trading Standards Department for advice on what you can do.