Using a builder vs getting everyone in separately

Found 28th Apr 2018
Morning! Im getting a 6x4 extension built and have been absolutely horrified by the quotes. Im now looking into hiring everyone separately. Planning went through yesterday and I really thought I would be starting once I had that. Has anyone had any experience of doing this and how did it go? Did the saving make up for the hassle? Im not scared of hard work and know a little about building but its still daunting as I've heard horror stories. Any pros and cons you can share with me please? Thanks
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Have done it twice; joined the house and garage together (3mx2m) and added a utility room (6mx2m). Both worked out very much cheaper and meant I could decide or make changes as I went along without a huge sigh from the builder and an invoice for 'changes'.

Both times, I used a Building Notice rather than get BR plans drawn up. SInce then, I have found an excellent guy to draw up those sorts of plans at a sensible price (low 00s). Sadly, he died last year but finding the right person will help

We also extended the kitchen with lots of steel needed where 2 sides of the house were knocked out. I was working abroad, so we used a professional builder who was excellent. It took around 12 interviews before I found the guy to work with.

Happy to share info and experience but its a lot more than a post on here. I live near Warwick Uni if you are local to me. Or msg me
Edited by: "ccnp" 28th Apr 2018
I’d say it largely depends on:

When you want it done (summer may-oct is busiest time for builders etc)
Where you live
Availability of builders in area (if your really rural and they will have to travel far it will affect price)
What you want done and the materials the builders will use (if you want specific materials used then get them to include these as broken down in the quotes which allows you to benchmark them)

I’ll be honest having had a garage conversion done, I’d probably only have a builder to build the walls and do the roof, I’d do the rest myself including the windows.

Would get the electrician in to sign off my work as it would be required for building regs.
Edited by: "cmdr_elito" 28th Apr 2018
Do it yourself. The only part to worry about is ensuring you get reliable trades. Call/email/text (ask what they prefer) the ones your considering - if they don't reply bin them off. It will only get worse with slack ones.

As a tradesman myself, I much prefer working with a customer who organises things themselves (I actually avoid ever working for builders).
It's your call on which is best, but broadly speaking the pros and cons are as follows;-


Managing the work yourself means you will have more of a say in who does what work, rather than a builder bringing 'their mates' in.

You will only pay for one lot of overheads and profit if you manage the work yourself.

You will have the experience of learning if you do it yourself.


A good builder will know what needs doing and in what order, whereas you may not. Doing things in the wrong order can increase timescales and costs.

A good builder will also know good tradespeople, whereas you will have to trust your judgement.

A responsible builder will take liability for anything that goes wrong. There's only one port of call. If you're bringing trades in yourself and something goes wrong, each trade can have a tendency to blame each other, or blame you and charge for putting things right.

On a simple project I may be tempted to manage it myself, but anything complex i'd get someone in that knows what they're doing. Whichever way you decide to go, make sure they have adequate insurance and experience, and get ideally three prices and at least two references.
I'd get plumber and electrician separately and get the builder to do the rest.

If you all meet together then that should help you to ensure everyone plays together well.

I did some work and got a separate plumber and electrician but got them to meet with the builder to ensure everyone talks to each other.

I find having separate electrician and plumber allowed me greater flexibility for changes.
Thanks everyone. I got the building notice as suggested and found a local builder by recommendation. He is doing foundations as I type, he will also be doing the brick and blocks. His mate is a roofer and will be getting a quote from him. If his mates are as quick and efficient as he seems to be (only day 1) I’m sorted. We had a major problem earlier, a massive pip was uncovered and he was a cool as a cucumber over it all.
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