My builder hates me – what did I do wrong?

Scaffolding on housing extension

Securing the services of a competent, reliable and trustworthy builder is not easy, particularly in these heady days of housebuilding. Many good builders will have a waiting list of clients and you may have to wait several months or even years for your chosen professional builder.

Unless you have a project manager to act as liaison, keeping a good relationship with your builder is essential if you want to keep them on board with your build.

We look at some of the things you should (and shouldn’t do) when dealing with home builders.

Mutual respect

The relationship you have with your builder can sometimes seem much like a marriage, particularly if you remain in your home during the build.

Like all good relationships you have to build respect. You may be very, very good at what you do – but your builder has built up years of personal experience and knowledge that you don’t have. Of course, respect works both ways – if you respect the work they do, they should respect your budget as well as your aims.


Make sure you share contact details and decide who the point of contact should be on both sides of the relationship. You don’t want to have to repeat your instructions to everyone on site any more than your builder wants to hear instructions from both you and your partner or anyone else involved in the build.

Make sure your builder knows exactly what you want, including finish quality.

If you want a daily update – say so at the start. Communication is sometimes difficult if you’re away from home most of the day, so agree a way around the problem. Keeping a simple day diary where you can both keep notes is easier to manage than email cross-firing.


Even the best laid building plans can sometimes go awry, but don’t let little problems destroy your relationship with your builder. If you decide to move a doorway from ‘position A’ to ‘position B’, or your builder may can’t fit the doorway where it is planned due to problems on site or with the plans, the sooner the issue is communicated the less work and time it will take to instigate the change, and less costly to you and your relationship.

Be decisive

You’ll get the best out of your client-builder relationship if you can tackle decision making with minimal delay. Keep changes to a minimum, as even the smallest amendment can mean delays getting materials, affect subcontractor’s schedules and ultimately cost more money.

Don’t look over your builder’s shoulder at every turn or question every decision made. It will only annoy him.

Pay on time

You must pay for general building materials on time. Delays on your part could affect your builder’s ability to pay subcontractors or obtain materials and will delay your build as well as souring your relationship. However, you shouldn’t need to pay up front unless you are installing expensive or bespoke items.


Back to September 2019 Newsletter