bedroom conversion by DH Builders

Builder of the month – DH Builders Ltd

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“It’s not just about the job, it’s about the relationship with the client. Communication is key and it makes for happy clients and a happy life.” 

Meet Dominic Hearne, builder – dad – teacher. Former teacher, that is. The man who spent almost a decade teaching engineering and carpentry to school and college-age kids, left the classroom for the building site and has never been happier. “I thoroughly enjoyed teaching for several years and I still get kick from passing on my knowledge. I’ve had several apprentices and helped them get their NVQs, and even had a young lad doing work experience for me.

“But I love everything about construction. I like starting a project, doing excellent work and seeing it all come together as a result of a job well done. I’ve got a great team who I’ve known for years, I like getting my hands dirty and I even like dealing with clients, probably because my approach works. I put a lot of value on that client relationship and building trust and confidence.”

A bathroom by DH builders Ltd

Dominic has what might be a unique approach in that his contract sets out how communication on the project will be done and what clients can expect from him. He strongly believes that client and builder should be on the same page. “Both parties should be looking at the project from the same perspective and want the same outcome. It’s about being mindful of each other. I’m always mindful that for my client, the project represents the most money they’ll spend on anything, and it means everything to them.”

He’s also known for his diligent paperwork, something he says is also left from his teaching days, so his clients always know where the project is against time and budget. If a customer asks for a change to the original spec, it’s costed out and written down before anything happens and the client isn’t taken by surprise.

The company, DH Builders Ltd, focuses on one project at a time, rather than working on several jobs at once. It means that his team is dedicated to one site and one client and he likes nothing better than a meaty project to get his teeth into. “If we have an extension to construct, and the client also wants to refurbish the rest of the ground floor or to build a loft room or garage space as well, I know I’m going to be dedicated to that job for the next few months. I love that feeling of managing and building the whole thing!”

Dominic came to Portsmouth to do a degree in 3D design and never left. He loves the city for its beach, green open spaces and wonderful character and while he now lives in north Hampshire, he still does plenty of jobs in area and believes that reputation is everything. “I have almost zero complaints and we have very few snagging issues. Where a mistake happens, and they sometimes do, it’s about how you put it right. And that relationship of trust means my clients know that I will always make good on a mistake, it’s just who I am.”

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