We all want our project done right, and delivered on time, and on budget. Right?

Your builder arguably has the greatest influence on the overall success of your project. Therefore, builder selection is the single most important decision a homeowner will make.

Many homeowners embarking on a new build feel out of their depth. It can be overwhelming dealing with industry jargon, regulations, registration, permits and insurances. As a consequence people often rush the all-important builder appointment process.

It can also be challenging compiling a list of capable, reputable and affordable builders. Though several 'review' websites claim to provide this service, there's no magical site where you enter a suburb, budget and job specs and half-a-dozen properly-vetted, trustworthy and available builders appear.

Be aware also that 'online reputation management' services exist - negative reviews can be deleted when legal pressure is applied. Also, the fact is, some of the very best builders have limited social media presence and many don't appear in any of the review websites.

To ensure the best possible outcome you'll need to do some leg-work. Here are the most common avenues homeowners use to gather a list of referrals: Depositphotos 49262967 xl 2015 smaller

  • The first port of call is usually family, friends and neighbours. If they've built before they're sure to have a strong opinion about their builder
  • Talk to local architects and building designers - particularly if you've appointed a specialist designer - as they'll be able to make referrals of builders that they've used successfully
  • Take a drive around your neighbourhood and look for active building works. Knock on doors for a chat, most people are happy to share knowledge
  • Ask trusted tradespeople for recommendations
  • Ask local building surveyors, engineers, building inspectors, real estate agents and your council or shire planning offices
  • Review local press and web adverts. Like everyone, builders want to work close to home, focus on builders who advertise in your area
  • Search web, social media (Facebook is particularly good) and blogs

Association Members

Be aware that membership of an industry association is not a guarantee of quality workmanship.

No association will tell you that their member may cause you headaches. It's a common misconception to assume that, in the event of a dispute, an association will take the side of the homeowner. In reality, unless you have irrefutable evidence, industry associations are generally inclined to defend their fee-paying member.

Having said that, a recent association award commendation is a more reliable barometer of expertise (award winners can be searched via association websites). It is generally true to say however that association members are likely to be better informed and professional, so we do still recommend that you use one.

by Brendan Watkins, Director


We've helped hundreds of Australians complete their due diligence with our unique range of credit rating, defaulting, company & court records. We also search hard-to-find regulatory, insurance, social & government records to ensure our clients avoid repeat-offending builders. If you're about to build, or extend credit to builders, we'll do your homework for you.

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