Having an extension built - pinning down the building contractor

Hi - we're about to start our extension but are rather worried about the number of times the builder has delayed, also the lack of a formal contract. Is this normal? We do have a breakdown of costs and a general idea of the phases of the work. The builder comes recommended and we have no reason to doubt he will do a great job. It's just not the way I'm used to doing things in my working life! Friends say I've been unusually laid back in my dealings with him and that I may regret it..........Any tips gratefully received!!!!!

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Alison,

I do not know enough about your project but we have been involved with builders for several years now, including recently in Plevna Road.

If you have any concerns I would write a detailed letter (which will become a form of contract), to your builder. This will state, in unemotional terms, everything that you understand that has been said and agreed to be carried out in 'the non-existent contract'. This will include start dates, scheduled payments when part works are reached or materials are on site, final payment with small retention, what his price includes (attach quote), completion date etc., etc. It will also include that any 'extras' over and above the initial quote are agreed, including cost, with you first before the 'extra' work is carried out.

Send him an extra copy to sign with a note stating that he is in acceptance of your understanding prior to work starting if possible.

Whilst I am not a solicitor and someone will now say ignore me, we have found this gives us peace of find and has often been referred to amicably during the works taking place.

A lot of builders are one  / two man bands who prefer building than paperwork (!) and are happy for the client to do it for them in some respects.

GOOD LUCK!!

Henry

p.s. Do not give in to pressure requests for large pre-payments, stick with scheduled payments with dates when work has been completed. 

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