Home» Why choose a heritage bricklayer…? Tips to help you choose the right contractor!
Why choose a heritage bricklayer…?
These images show what can go wrong when you entrust your restoration project to bricklayers without heritage skills.
Following a successful subsidence claim, the repairs to this arch were being carried out by a contractor appointed by the insurance company. The property owner was horrified when he arrived arrived home to see the ‘repaired arch’. He complained to the insurance company about the extremely poor quality of the workmanship which, in his opinion, had resulted in an arch that looked even worse than before the repairs were carried out.
Charles Reilly was contracted through Kent Conservation & Restoration Ltd to rebuild the arch using traditional methods, and the client was ecstatic with the result.
If you would like to discuss your project with an experienced heritage bricklayer please do get in touch.
If you have been disappointed by the quality of workmanship and the standard of the repairs to your period property the Georgian Brickwork team can help you put things right.
How to choose the right contractor for your project
Georgian Brickwork is regularly asked to come and sort out problems that have arisen solely because the original contractor was not knowledgeable or skilful enough to do the work properly in the first place! We have outlined one such example above. Another example can be seen by clicking on the following link; Case Study: Tuck pointing in Bromley
The pointers below are intended to help you establish whether the contractors who you are considering asking to quote actually have the expertise to do the job!
Your initial search for a contractor may be via the internet. This search will no doubt highlight many specialist brickwork companies all of whom proclaim via their website that they have a wealth of experience and can provide you with exactly the service you are looking for.
Georgian Brickwork is no different! Many of our enquiries come via our website and we are proud that every single case study in our project gallery shows brickwork that we have personally undertaken –either for our own clients, or on behalf of other contractors who bring us in to provide the specialist support for their contract.
However, not all contractors are as scrupulous and it is not uncommon for contractors to ‘raid’ the internet for images of brickwork that will enhance their own website, irrespective of the fact that the workmanship is not theirs!
So, how can you tell whether the photographs on the website show the contractors’ own workmanship?
Ask them! –reputable contractors will be able to talk at length about the work on their website. At the very least they will know the name of the client, the address of the job, and when they completed it. If a contractor is unable to supply any other details about the photographs they show on their website then it might be safer to assume that it isn’t actually their work!
Get technical! – Using your desktop computer ‘right click’ on an image on their website. (On a smart phone just press on the image) Select ‘search for image on google’ and see what comes up….. If the only place that google can find the image is the contractors own website then it is probably an image taken by that contractor. However, if google’s search reveals several other websites or social media sites (such as Pinterest) with the same image, then it is less likely that the contractor personally took that image. (Please note, this technique will not work on Georgian Brickwork’s website because we protect the copyright of our images –to stop others from downloading them for their own purposes…..)
Seek references –if you see an image on a contractor’s website that illustrates the look you want for your own property then ask the contractor to put you in touch with their client so that you can seek a reference on their workmanship. Once again, if a contractor is unwilling to supply further details it raises questions about the extent of their involvement in the project….
Seek advice from other trades and professions:
The building industry involves many trades and professions so it is always worth asking others for a recommendation. If you are using an architect they may well have worked on similar projects and be able to provide you with details of suitable brickwork contractors. If your building is listed you may be in contact with your local planning officer with regard to getting listed building consent. They may not actually ‘recommend’ a specific contractor but they may hold a list of local contractors with relevant skills to help you narrow down your search. Georgian Brickwork often gets enquiries arising from recommendations from other trades, such as roofers and painters, and of course where we see other trades offering a high quality service we are happy to return the favour!
Look around your neighbourhood:
Are there other properties similar to yours also undergoing repairs and restoration to the brickwork. Have a chat with the bricklayer. Ask for a card. Pop a note through the homeowners door and ask for their opinion on the contractor they are using. Georgian Brickwork recognises that ‘word of mouth’ recommendations are invaluable and we are always delighted when our clients pass on our details.
Remember you will get what you pay for:
In the end price is often the determining issue when it comes to appointing a contractor to carry out your repairs. This is entirely understandable but it is worth remembering that you get what you pay for! Don’t assume that the workmanship will be the same quality if the costs are lower. A cheaper quote may mean a poorer finish! For example, the contractor may use inferior materials to keep costs within the budget, or may rush the job to get it done so as not to lose any small profit margin.
The Georgian Brickwork team are highly experienced and well regarded craftsmen with many years experience. We work collaboratively with our clients to ensure that their vision for their property is realised. A quote from Georgian Brickwork includes a breakdown of the costs and where appropriate we offer references from clients or visits to other similar properties that we have worked on. We also provide test panels and liaise with local conservation officers as part of our commitment to offer a high quality service to our clients.
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