Contracting Trades: Builders, Roofers etc. The Norm?

8 Jul 2008
Reaction score
United Kingdom
This may be a really silly question, so please excuse my ignorance.

What is the norm for contracting the different trades when embarking on a renovation and extension project?

I often see it ends up in the hands of the main contracted builder and the client trusts the chosen builders contacts/their own in house labourers?

Is this be the norm? Or to guarantee quality work should the client be doing the leg work and contracting the roofers, renderers etc. to ensure that the companies used are specialists in their individual trades, and not just general builders chosen by their main contactor whos primary concern may be to keep costs down?
Sponsored Links
You can use sub contract labour to be in control of who you use, which can also keep the costs down,but it means you have to organize the trades to come in on time.
Using a main contractor takes that problem away, but normally they will use the tradesmen they know.
So in the end, the client has to trust the skills of the trades used by the main contractor? It seems that quite often in these instances the main contractor use "jack of all trades" labourers? Would this be fair?

I often read on here comments like "you can tell a builder did that roof".

In fact my neighbour recently had a design and build loft company do their roof and a single story side return extension, everything was in-house. While a basic design, and built to all the regs, you can see the finish a is not great in quite a few areas. They used their own contacts/in house labourers and it seems were not specalists in certain trades.

I would be quite interested in peoples opinions of the two ways of contracting the work.

It seems both methods have their up and downsides. More pressure for the client but the possibility of cheaper cost and high quality (if the client does their job properly).

Of the ease of just having a main contractor?

Sponsored Links
A good main contractor should be using good tradesmen. I've worked for firms who only used men or subbies who knew their job.
Problem if you are not in the trade is they you may not know who the good tradesmen are.
Also when using subbies on a price they often think only of themselves, and leave problems for the following trades.
When I first started in the trade a lot of firms used directly employed labour, and the jobs in general were of a higher quality than when a lot of subbies were used.

DIYnot Local

Staff member

If you need to find a tradesperson to get your job done, please try our local search below, or if you are doing it yourself you can find suppliers local to you.

Select the supplier or trade you require, enter your location to begin your search.

Are you a trade or supplier? You can create your listing free at DIYnot Local