How to Find the Right Builder
Your builder will arguably have the greatest influence on the overall success of your project. Therefore, builder selection is the single most important decision a homeowner will make.
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.
You’ve done the research, sought advice and signed the contract - the heavy lifting begins now! Priority number one is to have a professional and positive relationship with your builder.
Firstly, 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.
To ensure the best possible outcome, and a minimum of stress during construction, you’ll need to appoint more than just a builder.
We all want our project to be delivered on time and on budget. The best way to ensure this happens is to appoint a team of independent professionals, to advise and support you, both during and after the construction.
Firstly, be clear about exactly what it is you want and how much money you have at your disposal. Once you've ticked those boxes these are the main players you’ll need on your bench:
The 7 Deadly Sins of Looking for a Builder
First things first - too many people rush the process of choosing a builder. We believe that builder selection is the most important step in a building project. Slow down, it’s not a race.
1: Appointing a Builder Who Isn't Properly Registered / Licensed or Insured
Your builder must be registered with the State Building Regulator (links at bottom of our homepage). There are multiple ‘unlimited’ and 'limited' registrations and builder classes (eg: domestic, commercial, demolisher, structural landscaping, pool building, etc) - make sure your builder's registration is appropriate for your specific project. If in doubt, call the regulator.
Additionally, depending on the State where you live, there are mandatory insurances. In most of Australia builders are compelled to provide some form of consumer protection to assist you if things go poorly. Check with the State Regulator as to what the mandated insurance includes. NB: It's essential you have a copy of that insurance policy before the project commences.