8 Tips for Choosing a Building Contractor

Published on 10 December 2019

Any building project can be a huge undertaking and a source of stress for you and your family. Don’t be tempted to forego hiring a building contractor in the hopes of saving money as trying to do the job yourself will only result in increased cost, stress, and lengthy delays.

Managing and coordinating the separate jobs and tradesmen on-site requires a great deal of grit and experience. A building contractor manages the entire project and will communicate any updates or delays to you. Their knowledge and expertise will help bring your project in on time and, equally important, on budget. Therefore, choosing the right contractor is essential...


Tips for Choosing the Right Contractor


Ask Your Friends

The best way to find a reliable building contractor is by word of mouth. Getting recommendations from previous clients provides a good indication of a building contractor’s work ethic. If a building contractor has a bad reputation, don’t imagine that you can change them - move on to the next name on your list.

Ask for Referrals

It’s equally important to get referrals from those in the business. Your architect would be able to suggest some of their preferred building contractors or similarly local tradesmen would be a good source for names.

Invitation to Tender

When you've drawn up a detailed plan with your architect which includes all of your wishes, you can then approach contractors. It’s a good idea get a few quotes from prospective contractors to compare prices. Be wary of a tender that's much lower than the other. The contractor may be putting in a speculative bid to get the work and plans to make a profit on the project by cutting corners. 


It’s important that the building contractor you hire has previous experience of a similar scale project. If you want to build a five-bedroom house, hiring your brother-in-law who has only ever built garden sheds isn’t advisable...

Past Clients

When you've narrowed down your search to a few candidates, ask them for examples of their work and if they're trustworthy they should have no problem giving you details of previous clients. Viewing a recent project will give you an idea of the type of work they do and you may have the opportunity to ask the clients some questions about the contractor and his employees. Are they punctual? What are their labourers and tradesmen like? Are they messy? Any hidden costs? Was the project completed on budget and on time? Were they easy to communicate with? 

Interview Your Shortlist

Your building project may take many months, so it’s helpful if you have a good relationship with your contractor. Interviewing the candidates will give you a good indication of their personality and gauge their interest in your ideas and project. If you particularly liked one of their previous projects, ask the contractor if the same team will be involved in your project. It might be a good idea to have your architect along who will ask questions that you may not think of.


Do a background check before you make your decision and check that the contractor is registered with the Construction Industry Register Ireland and they're insured.

Contract and Payment Schedule

A contract is essential to protect your rights and a payment schedule must be agreed in writing. Never pay a large amount upfront. Instead, payments should be scheduled to coincide with specific completion targets in the building process. When the project is completed in full to your satisfaction then the contractor will be paid in full.

Having an experienced and reliable team working with you can make your building project a success and much less stressful. The building contractor plays a pivotal role, synchronising each job, delivery, tradesman and utility. The whole project will depend on their expertise, therefore take your time in deciding which contractor is best for your job or you may regret it later.


Home Insurance with Liberty


While choosing the right building contractor for your project might take centre stage, it's important that you remember to get home insurance. Luckily, Liberty has made buying home insurance simple and fair, with all the features and benefits you’d expect and more.

Get a home insurance quote