Which house builder should I pick for my bespoke home?

Are Fotheringham Homes the local builder for you?

Choosing a builder is like handing your ‘baby’ over on their first day at school.

Up until this point your dream home has very much been your baby, but now that you are looking to get the foundations laid you need to put your trust in someone else.

This article explains what to look out for in a quality builder, and considers if Fotheringham Homes could be the perfect match for you

Things to look out for when selecting your home builder.

Availability

Once you have the plans in place, it is difficult not to get wrapped up in the excitement of it all and want the construction to start the following week. However, something to consider when discussing availability, is why are they available so quickly.

Most reputable tradesmen will have several jobs lined up as their services will be very much in demand. If your house builder is available immediately, it is definitely worthwhile exploring why. You don’t want to be wishing in a few weeks time that you’d taken a step back to take a closer look at their quality of work.

At Fotheringham Homes, we are a small family business and we schedule our projects so that we can focus on projects from start to finish, rather than juggling too many jobs at once. By focusing on the job on hand we can ensure the quality of finish is high and we can remain easily available to the customer throughout. There is nothing more frustrating than a project starting, getting so far then stopping again on repeat. We prioritise our customer communication, to ensure that you feel relaxed in how the job is progressing helping to make the construction journey stress free.

Asking questions during the tender process

If a builder just churns out a quote response without any communication, it can indicate that they are not that engaged with your project. Distracted by what they are already working on, they lack the energy to dedicate time to your plans. They also might be churning out tenders on a daily basis and be focusing on quantity rather quality of builds.

At Fotheringham Homes, we love to meet with prospective clients. We believe it gives our clients the opportunity to express their vision and for us to ask queries; offering recommendations where appropriate.

Like any potential relationship sometimes it can look good on paper but in reality it can lack the magical connection. When building your future home, you need to be 100% sure of your building partner, not only will it massively improve your construction experience bit it will also rid you of unwarranted stress and sleepless nights.

The use of technical speak

When undertaking a custom build property for the first time, you could be easily bamboozled by the use of technical phrases. Don’t be shy in asking for an explanation, they could be just trying to cover up their lack of knowledge by using terms that they don’t even understand, or hiding unwanted short cuts.

At Fotheringham Homes it is vital for us that you feel confident of how your project is progressing at all times, whether that is in the initial tender stages or throughout the actual construction. By taking the time to explain processes and materials clearly we recognise that the project will progress far more efficiently, eradicating any problems surrounding miscommunication.

Price

Your architect should be able to provide you with an approximate build price prior to the tender process, which will help you draw an initial line in the sand.

If a builder comes back double in price, you will naturally question why. However at the other end of the scale, cheap can also lead on to being very expensive and full of heartache. You may feel like you’ve got a great price initially, but stories of broken drainage, workmen disappearing for weeks on end and unfinished fittings means that you certainly shouldn’t go for the cheapest without first doing your homework on their reputation.

At Fotheringham Homes, we focus on providing you with value for money and this means exceptional quality finishes, efficient project management and a stress-free experience. Our clients are our best advocates and we would rather politely decline a custom home build than sacrifice our quality of service.

The price of a bespoke build depends on the materials and complexities , but we are always happy discuss our quotes and provide a clear explanation of how the final price is arrived at, giving you reassurance that our quote is more than just a finger in the air exercise.

Terms of payment

We would be wary of builders asking for pre-payment, most builders merchants ask for payment at the end of month, with the exception of larger purchases such as a timber frame. Upfront payment may indicate that they are unable to get credit or plan to do a runner at some point. When you appoint Fotheringham Homes as your building partner, we outline staging payments at the beginning, which are typically aligned with building inspection and/or mortgage release dates.

Many builders will provide a fixed price contract, meaning that they will charge that amount to complete the job, no matter the unforeseen circumstances. Another method used is to provide an estimate and then charge out the actual costs along the way.

At Fotheringham Homes we can provide a fixed price arrangement, however in our attempts to keep it as cost effective as possible for the client it is better to keep this flexible so that it can move up and down to suit changes in the build; either through an unexpected issue or a client change. We could add on a % on for such eventualities, but we think it is better to provide you with a transparent price, reflective of our services.

References

Essential to obtain before any bespoke build project.

You may have heard the phrase ‘you are only as good as your last job’. At Fotheringham Homes we actively encourage you to speak to our past clients. Not only will it put your mind at rest, but you may also find that they share valuable advice from their own bespoke-build project. Like any house proud couple, they will love to talk about how they transformed their dream into reality.

Be wary of any builder that is unable to provide you with contact details for references. Speak to them in person; paper documentation can easily be fraudulent.

Changes to the design during the build

Most big decisions happen before the first soil is even dug, however this is rarely the end of the decision-making process. Once construction starts and the frame begins to take shape there are usually tweaks to be made from room dimensions and bathroom layouts to internal door handles.

This is where it is impertinent to have a good relationship with your builder, as certain changes will be more expensive to implement the further into the build you get. For example deciding to change your kitchen layout after the utilities have been plumbed into location under the floorboards. By having good communication, they should indicate to you when milestones are being reached therefore minimising costs for changes.

When working with Fotheringham Homes we hold regular client meetings to discuss tweaks and propose alternative options. In the initial stages meetings are focused around integral elements such as construction materials or underfloor heating; then as the build progresses it will be about finalising the details such as placement of sockets and plugs.

Insurances

Don’t just presume that all builders have the correct insurance in place. They need to have cover that protects them against property damage along with personal and public liability; this will protect you and the general public in the event of an accident or injury.

It’s better to be safe than sorry. Before any construction commences with Fotheringham Homes we would ensure that you have seen all relevant insurance paperwork to put your mind at rest.

10 questions you should ask your custom homebuilder, before making your final selection

  1. How long have you been in business and how many properties have you built?
  2. Can you give me references of previous bespoke builds and can I visit any of your previous projects?
  3. Are your insured?
  4. Who will oversee the construction of my property, and be my main point of contact?
  5. How long will it take to construct my home?
  6. How and when can I make changes or upgrades to the building during construction?
  7. What is your process for inspection during the build? Are there formal points where we can be walked through the progress?
  8. How will the price of my construction project be determined and what are your terms of payment?
  9. How many homes are you currently building?
  10. What subcontractors do you use?

Are Fotheringham Homes the right builder for you?

It is likely that your bespoke build project, is one that you have dreamt of for many years. Typically you will picture the end property, but the construction experience will forever impact how you feel about your home. Pick the wrong contractor and you will potentially despise your decision to undertake such a life changing project, and be haunted by it for years to come.

We cannot express enough how important it is to find a home builder who is motivated and engaged to see your dream be fulfilled. We totally understand that this is your baby, and that you naturally want to be involved in how the project progresses.

We believe that by working together as one team, we can deliver a beautiful home that we are all proud of.

Tell us what you think.

What would you want to know before you chose a custom housebuilder?

Scottish Home Awards Finalist 2018