Types of Builders for a House Extension.
Home extension Builders generally fall into 5 groups. Here we discuss the various
types of the house extension builder available for your home extension project.
1 - The jobbing (unlimited) builder.
These possibly make up the greatest proportion of home extension builders. They tend to operate from home &
complete one extension scheme at a time.
They also normally have a trained trade experience & expertise themselves that they bring to the project as
part of their own labour input & sub-contract out all the other trades as part of priced work or day works.
Many successful jobbing builders would have built up their own assets over time that prevents them from going
insolvent making it easier for the home owner to pursue a claim should the need arise. They are normally referred
to as a ‘sole trader’.
2 - The Limited Company builder (small scale).
This type of builder can be a variant of your jobbing builder above in size & operation but operate behind
the limited company status. This means that they have limited liability to you & your scheme.
When you hear of builders going ‘bust’, it normally relates to this type of builder who often simply walks away
from a part completed project to simply open up another limited company & start over. Not all limited liability
builders end up this way but you must remember that it is very difficult to obtain redress or money back from Ltd.
Company Builders should they become insolvent or are sued & wish to avoid further litigation.
3 - The Limited Company builder (larger scale).
This type of house extension builder normally operate from a dedicated office, yard or premises rather than
their own homes. They may also have a small team of site agents, surveyors & administrators to manage running
several home extension projects at a time.
4 - The ‘Cowboy’ Builder.
The cowboy builder can be any of the above house extension builders but they are predominantly limited company
builders exploiting the deficiencies and grey areas of limited company law. The definition of a cowboy builder is
one who takes on a home extension scheme with no intent of finishing the project and will complete some works of
deficient standard in order to extract over valued sums of money from the home owner for as long as they can so
that the amount of money extracted is of greater value than the part works they have installed.
Not all builders who fail to complete works are cowboys. Many make mistakes in under-pricing the works or simply
take on a too larger or complicated project beyond their skills and expertise normally during their early years of
trying to run a building business. Many who fall into this trap are building trades who have only been used to a
weekly wage in return for their time on site. Turn up, do the job, get paid, walk away. A successful building
business takes on a wide range of skills much of which is simply keeping on top of the boring administration.
5 - The Project Manager home extension Builder.
This is a rare builder but they are becoming more prevalent in today’s house extension market. A good building
company is simply a well organised person or team that can manage men & materials at the correct time &
place who will also ensure quality control at every stage. They need not even have a relevant building trade
(although they nearly all do).
Rather than ‘the builder’ giving you a fixed price that will include a profit margin, the Project Manager
provides you with a concise project cost estimate for each stage and he will then simply charge you a fee for
organising the works. This is normally called ‘cost plus’. The project managers fee can be a weekly wage, a fixed
price or a percentage of the building cost.
The homeowner normally pays the trades direct as required & when instructed by your project manager. This
arrangement has many benefits for both the home owner and the builder or project manager (PM). The builder (PM) is
released from the pressure of maintaining a profit margin for the works by taking shortcuts or using cheaper
materials. The client obtains the works & materials at cost price with the only extra cost on top being the
Project Managers fee.
The down sides are possible corruption between your Project Manager and the trades pricing for the works which
could be inflated for backhander's to the builder. The homeowner does not have a fixed price as a base for the
extension works so you need to be flexible and have access to additional funds just in case. This method of working
with your builder demands a high degree of trust.
Project Managers for house extensions can be sole traders or operate under the limited company protection for