Why are builders so unreliable?

This article is not bashing builders, its purpose is the reveal some of the pressures and circumstances that builders face and how these may on occasion result in criticism of their reliability. Before you carry on you may like to read ‘Why are builder so expensive?’

Are builders really no good?

If you hire a builder for a large job, such as a major extension or a complete new build then they are more than just a builder, they are someone who needs to coordinate many moving parts, including the ordering of parts & equipment, hiring of sub-contractors, management of cash-flow, and more. If a builder was to be the main contractor on one job then things would run pretty smoothly more often than not; however, to make a decent living builders need to take on several jobs at once.

It is not just about money either, because if a builder specialises in larger jobs they will have a team of tradesmen to keep busy, and also they do not want any periods of inactivity between jobs, so to combat both of these issues the builders take on more than one job at a time. The problem is that once the number of jobs a builder has on at once exceeds 3, things can start to get very tricky to organise and this is when the client starts to see delays and the builder becomes more and more unreliable. Phone calls go straight to voicemail and appointments start to be are missed when a builders time is stretched too far.

When builders stop delivering what they promise

While for the client delays are a real headache and they wonder why people cannot just stick to what they agree on, the reasons mentioned above go some way in explaining (while not excusing) why builders can sometimes seem unreliable. In truth however they normally do deliver what they promised, but quite often things may be delayed and even at a lower standard than expected due to rushed jobs.

While nothing written here provides a solution to the problem, perhaps if you are in the process of hiring a head contractor for your build you should anticipate delays and the fact that the road to completion may not be as straight as you would expect. Or, be honest with your builder and say you understand their situation, and see if there is anything that can be done to improve the chances of a smooth and on-time build. Maybe we all need to expect to pay more for our builders to remove the necessity of them taking on too many jobs at once, but ultimately for a lot of us money is an issue and we want things done for the lowest price possible.

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