Material suppliers are an excellent source of references. They know their clients closely, that is, the builders. They know if a builder is trajectory or new; they know their volume and frequency of purchase, a clear indicator of the number of works; they know what materials he buys, a sign of the quality with which he builds; and they know if it is solvent or not.
Suppliers are the best judges of the experience, knowledge, solvency and integrity of a company. Ask your builder for the contact details of the suppliers he works with. If, at your request, he is reluctant or if he directly refuses, you know that it is a yellow signal, and there are reasons to be suspicious. When in doubt, ask for references. A good one is https://ibuiltmyhome.co.uk there.
Photos of works:
Experience is a great teacher of all things. There is nothing as true as in construction. If you want to find out the suitability and expertise of a company, look at their works. You don’t have to be an architect if you are much better to assess the quality of the work. If the photos are of high quality, good resolution and have a good composition, it is a sign that the company strives to show the best of its work. If the photos are amateurish and of poor quality, how can you judge the quality of the work?
More importantly, how do you know if the works you publish are your own? Happily it is very simple. Open the Google Chrome browser, place the cursor on the photo, right-click and choose the option “Search image in Google.” On the results page, Google shows you all the websites that have the same photo. If only the website of your builder appears, great, the photos are of a work that is their own. If, on the contrary, several sites appear, then the photo probably belongs to another company, and the builder has downloaded and uploaded it to their web server, posing as their own a work of others. Research the websites on the results pages and determine who the true owner of the photo is. You would be surprised to know how many websites use images of works that are not their own.
How to Google a photo and find out how many websites have it published on your web server.
Another way to verify the veracity of the photo is to analyze its metadata. Metadata is additional information that the file contains, such as the date and where it was taken. To view the metadata, download the photo to a folder on your hard drive, place the mouse cursor over the photo, right click and finally click “Properties”.
Many construction companies request an advance payment before starting the work. The percentage of the advance reaches in some cases up to 70%. Our advice is not to give such an important advance. Never before committing yourself contractually, check what advance you are requested. Any advance that exceeds 30% is suspect. Also ask what the advance is for. If it is for the purchase of materials, it may be better to pay directly at the supplier, so that the materials are collected and invoiced in your name. In an inflationary context like the current one, it is plausible to do this to freeze the price. If your builder pays for the materials, demand that they show you the invoice, and if in doubt, call the supplier.