Margaret sent in the following question about finding a reliable contractor so if you know of anyone in the area that you can really, really recommend, please let us know.
This message is just one of hundreds received weekly looking for reliable contractors and gives an indication of just how many people are looking for those people who offer exceptional service in the building industry. With the recent of addition of My Little Black Book to All About Building, we hope to start getting those people on board who will help to make your building experience as painless as possible. You will be able to read their Letters of Recommendation and make an informed decision without taking pot luck with the YP or just choosing someone from a meaningless database of free name listings.
Hello, I live in Kempton Park and my shower room is in desperate need of being renovated - in every way. How do I go about getting a reliable contractor?
There are also lots of repairs that need to be done, e.g. removing crumbling chimney, replacing fascia boards, replacing damaged doors, etc. Do you have a list of contractors who are willing to do renovations?
Our response to Margaret is as follows:
You have certainly asked the "million dollar question."
The one thing that I can tell you with absolute certainty is that there is no "cheap" way of renovating a bathroom. By that, I mean that there are certain areas where you need to spend money and do things properly and then there are areas where you can look at saving a bit of money. My experience as an architect and DIY enthusiast and having physically renovated my own bathrooms over the years has also taught me the hard way how to do it properly.
The issue of getting a contractor who is going to do a good job for you is not all that difficult but it will require some work on your part. I have written an article on the site titled, Choosing your Builder: A Checklist
, which I would encourage you to look at. If you are prepared to work through the main points of the list then the chances are that you will find a good contractor to do the work for you.
Your second option would be to contact a bathroom specialist in your area like The Bath House, Plumblink or On Tap and find out who their recommended contractors are and then again, go through the points on checklist on each of them.
The last bit of advice that I could give would be to engage the services of an architect to advise you on the technical issues like waterproofing your shower, drainage, tiles (some are suitable and some are not) and also on the best use of the space that you have available. The consultation may cost you a few hundred Rand but it will be money well spent. If you leave these items to the contractor who is doing the work then you run the risk of a sub-standard or incorrect specification being applied
to the various items being installed in your bathroom. You will be spending a fair amount of money and it would be prudent to spend that money in the right areas and then ending up with something that increases the value of your house and gives you pleasure at the same time rather than something that leaves a hole in your pocket and is a bad experience.
Rather a long answer but I hope that it helps you. One last thing is that if you find a good contractor and you end up with a quality job being done, please encourage your builder to register on All About Building in My Little Black Book so that others in your area can also benefit from his or her good service.