How to Find the Right Builder
Builder selection is the single most important decision a homeowner will make as it will arguably have the greatest influence on the overall success of the project.
Homeowners embarking on a building project can sometimes feel out of their depth. It can be overwhelming dealing with industry jargon, regulations, registration, permit and insurance rules. And as a consequence, people often rush the all-important builder appointment process.
It's not easy compiling a list of capable, reputable and affordable builders. Though several 'review websites' claim to provide the service, there's no magical site where you can enter a suburb, budget and job specs and half-a-dozen properly-vetted, trustworthy and available builders appear.
The fact is, some of the very best builders have limited social media presence, and a large number of them don't appear in any of the review websites.
To ensure the best possible outcome you'll need to do some leg-work.
We all make ‘custom vs volume’ decisions every day. When we purchase clothes, food, accommodation, haircuts or travel we all consider convenience and price over amenity and a tailored solution.
Firstly, a broad definition of the two formats -
Volume Builders are large companies that perform large amounts of building work. Sometimes hundreds, sometimes thousands of projects every year.
Volume builders often promote their service based on price. They commonly offer a fixed range of ‘display home’ models that consumers select from. Limited variation is permitted to the advertised plans.
Firstly, always be mindful that good builders are skilled problem solvers. Every week they encounter a number of unanticipated problems that require resolution. A great builder is worthy of your respect.
As the homeowner, your job is to acknowledge this reality and aim to work productively toward sensible, cost-effective solutions. Unforeseen issues can lead to additional cost and delay. Work as a team!
To ensure the best possible outcome and a minimum of stress during the project, you’ll need to appoint more than just a builder. To deliver your desired project on time and on budget you’ll need a team of independent skilled professionals to advise and support you during, and after, the construction.
Firstly, you have to be clear about exactly what it is you want to build and how much money you have at your disposal. Once you do, here are the main players you’ll need to recruit to the team -
The 7 Deadly Sins (For Victorian Audience Only)
First things first - too many people rush the process of choosing a builder. We believe that choosing the right builder is the most important step in a building project. Slow down. It’s not a race.
1: Choosing a Builder Who Isn't Properly Registered or Insured for Your Project
Your builder must be registered with the Victorian Building Authority (VBA). There are multiple ‘unlimited’ and 'limited' registrations (eg: bricklaying, carpentry, structural landscaping, pool building, etc) - make sure your builder's registration is appropriate for your specific project.
Additionally, for all projects over $16,000, the builder must provide Domestic Building Insurance (DBI). It is essential that you have a copy of that policy before the project starts.