Builder is a term that can be thrown around to describe anyone with a hammer, having some knowledge about different types of builders and an understanding of who does what can be a great advantage in terms of the efficiency, price and quality of work done on a property. One way to find a good builder is to get a number of quotes from Rated People.
A main contractor manages a project for you; he will take responsibility for everything to do with the job, however loosely linked.
He will organise the materials along with hiring sub-contractors, checking building regulations, dealing with inspectors, and he will liaise with your architect.
If anything goes wrong the main contractor or their company should deal with it, they have total responsibility for the quality of the end product.
Obviously all of this comes at a price, to cover the overheads it is likely to put a mark-up of at least 15% on the cost of the work.
Shouldering the project management yourself can be extremely stressful, especially if you are dealing with a large, complex job and you are inexperienced. Sub-contractors and individual tradesmen are the people you will be dealing with to get your individual jobs done.
However, do not take it for granted that a quality job is guaranteed by these qualified members, it is always advisable to go by personal recommendation and references.
Small Contractors do a similar job to the main contractor only with dampened responsibility; they may leave any regulation checks, architect dealing, material supply and suchlike to you.
Builders like this will often specialise in a trade and bring in other tradesmen such as plumbers or electricians as the job requires.
‘Odd Job Man’
This can be the cheapest option as his overheads will be lower; he will be able to perform the work of a lot of different tradesmen. A day rate or fixed price decision will be made between you and should be kept reasonably formal.
The knowledge of the job you are getting done may need to be more accomplished if you are to hire an odd job man as you will almost certainly have to provide all the right materials and make decisions when something unforeseen comes up.
Comparing rates (per day):
Specialist builder: £180-£200 General Builder: £120-£180 per day
Labourer: £40-£100 Odd Job Man: £65-£120 per day
A bricklayer will build and repair any internal or external walls, including chimneys. They will construct garden walls, and create specialist finishes such as archways, floors, fireplaces and paving.
Builders generally become more accomplished with experience, working more efficiently and with better results as they do more jobs. The daily brick output can be more than doubled with experience.
Any cutting and building with stone may require a specialist bricklayer with the skills required for stonemasonry, this will cost you extra.
The rates of a standard bricklayer depend upon the amount of bricks laid and the complexity of the job but can be up to £250. A bricklayer’s labourer will also afford between £40 and £60 per day.
Carpenters, Joiners and Cabinet-makers (chippies)
Carpenters generally deal with the more heavy duty construction based woodwork such as laying floorboards, joists and beams. These jobs are traditionally grouped as the ‘first fix’.
The joiners, or the overseers of the ‘second fix’, do the lighter, more detailed work involving doors, windows and skirting boards.
Cabinet-makers are highly trained, highly skilled craftsmen who design and produce furniture of all types, to all customisations. They will also do minor repairs and restorations.
The advance in availability of modern tools and machinery has seen the arrival of multi skilled workers, less skill and specialisation is required and the work of carpenters and joiners has become somewhat interchangeable.
Rates, depending on complexity and veneers:
Carpenter: £100-£150 per day
A watertight roof is essentially important if you want to avoid the expensive, highly damaging problems that can arise from leaks and damp. It is also worth remembering that roofers work seasonally, so it is wise to get any hint of a leak seen to as soon as possible before the winter rain sets in and it’s too late.
A specialist roofer who can repair and replace all roofing systems is required for any roof work. Roofing entails the laying of waterproof, breathable membrane and battens beneath slates or tiles, edges should be sealed with lead flashing. Water should run straight into the drainage system, plumbers may work with your roofer to ensure that it all works smoothly. Carpenters may also need to work with your roofer on any timber structure repair or replacement.
A specialist thatcher will be required for the replacement of thatched roofs.
Roofer: £120-£200 (depending on speed and skill level)
Thatcher: £10,000-£12,000 (depending on size of house, materials and complexity)
Plumbers or Fitters
Plumbers are simply involved in the installation, maintenance and repair of hot and cold water systems. This includes the fixtures of bathroom suites, boilers, piping, central heating, surface water draining systems and sewerage.
Plumbers must be CORGI (Confederation for the Registration of Gas Installers) registered to deal with gas appliances. Plumbers may specialise in bathroom or kitchen fitting, any metal sinks or baths should be earthed by a specialist.
Central heating engineers come under the wide bracket of ‘plumbers’ however only usually work in their specialised area of central heating and boiler repair. That is not to say that an experienced plumber cannot also work with heating systems but a central heating engineer will usually carry spare parts in their van so are good to call if you have a plumbing problem that is specific to your heating system.
Rates: Plumber £100-£250 per day
It is an electrician’s job to inspect, test and install the domestic electrical wiring system. For convenience, and in order to conceal the wiring with minimal disruption to appearance, they are among the first people to come in once a house has been stripped out.
You must employ a NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting) qualified electrician to abide by the rule introduced in April 2005.
It is a good idea to get an electrician to check for inadequacies if you are restoring a house as electrical installations begin to deteriorate after years of extensive use.
Rates: £100-150 per day, the daily rate will diminish with longer jobs.
A plasterer will render and repair deep damage to walls, put a smooth skim on imperfect walls and construct stud walls using plasterboard (two layers of paper bonded to a central layer of gypsum). The plasterboard will then be skimmed ready for decoration.
Rates: £100-175 per day
Essentially glaziers will cut and install glass panes for doors, windows and porches. Painters sometimes double as glaziers as the putty that is used to set the panes in place needs to be painted upon completion of the installation.
Rates: £100-175 per day. Very small jobs may be charged on a one-off fee basis.
If you want a whole floor, wall or any significant or intricate area tiled then it would be advised that you get a specialist tiler. The finish should certainly be much better than if you got an ‘odd job man’ and the speed it gets done should not be comparable.
A tiler will know exactly how to prepare the surface before he begins, how to cut the tiles for those awkward obstacles and what the best grout and adhesive is for the job.
Tiler: £80-£200 per day
Odd Job Man: £65-£120
Painters and Decorators
Painting and decorating could well be the most undervalued trade. It is an extremely important final touch than can be the cherry on a cake or ruin an otherwise great job.
This is the area where people think that they can do it themselves and cut the costs, this is of course the case sometimes, but often the results are disastrous.
If you get tradesmen in to do your painting and decorating then you should expect them to be painting/decorating for only 20% of the time they are there, for a job to look professional and for a job to be worth doing, the other 80% must be spent on preparation. It is worth every minute if you want a good result.
You should be sure to get specialist decorators who have been recommended or researched; there are plenty of inexperienced, untrained painters and decorators that set up business. Do not hesitate in checking their credentials with previous employers.
Special Paint Effects: £250-450 (depending on difficulty)
First and foremost it is a good idea to do any of the work you can do yourself to save some money. Clear the room of furniture if possible, get the old carpet up, give the floor a sweep and make sure your surface is level, cut some plywood to level it if you can.
The carpet fitter will gladly do all this for you but it is always worth remembering that it is not worth paying a specialist to do something anybody could do. So avoid any extra labour hours by doing what you can.
The fitters should measure up your room if necessary (alternatively you can take the measurements/drawings of your rooms to the shop), cut the carpet as efficiently and cost effectively as possible and lay the carpet for you either using grips or glue/heat sealing method. The fitter should also offer the option of fitting joining plates for the doorways.
Rates: £90-160 per fitter per day