If you decide your home or renovation job is too big for DIY and want a builder, the big question more than often is:
how do you decide on the right one?
Factors to consider
Price is obviously a big factor and should be a consideration, but not because it’s the highest or the lowest.
When tendering for a project, look for the most detailed explanation of the price and also a consistency when comparing multiple quotes. If there is a stand out low or high price for the same job, it shouldn’t be considered.
At the end of the day, a brick costs what a brick costs and labour is also very consistent, so stand outs have either allowed for not enough or for too much and both will end up costing you the same.
When tendering for a project, look for the most detailed explanation of the price and also a consistency when comparing multiple quotes.
Equally important is working with someone you can communicate with and at least feel you can trust; so if you don’t feel comfortable with them, don’t hire them!
Choosing a builder naturally requires some research.
Don’t just check their credentials. Be sure to see what work they have done in the last 12 months.
I have never seen a bad reference, so I don’t take too much notice of them. What’s important with a builder is his ability to communicate not just with you but equally with his contractors, plumber and electrician.
Cross checking is also an important part of this process. Apart from word of mouth, check with HIA (Home Industry Association) MBA (Master Builders Association) and Department of Fair Trading, and under no circumstances should you consider an unlicensed builder or builder who does not have home warranty insurance.
It’s also important to choose a builder with experience in projects of a similar style and size to yours. The builder who builds and or fits out shopping centres is probably not ideal for a small terrace extension.
Project homes are a common choice for many Australian families. These homes are completed at a discounted price because of an economy of scale which is an advantage of modulation and slim margins.
If your site is not suitable or you just want to have more individuality you will have to choose a custom builder or project manager – this choice will come with a varied premium in cost and construction period.
Check the contract
Always make sure you have a written contract, understand it and follow it. I have heard a lot of people say the contract is only useful if something goes wrong, on the contrary if you follow it closely it’s more likely something won’t!
When considering a custom build, you will be required to have many more discussions and it’s to your advantage to make several site inspections. I advise at least one meeting with all players of the construction team: builder, architect, landscape designer, engineer and son on.
There must be a common goal and harmony in this team: disrespect or contempt will generally cause delays, confusion, money and heartache!
Some say a contract is only useful if something goes wrong. On the contrary if you follow it closely it’s more likely something won’t!
In closing I’d like to leave you with a quote from Mark Twain:
“Our house was not insentient matter – it had a heart and a soul, and eyes to see with; and approvals and solicitudes and deep sympathies; it was of us, and we were in its confidence and lived in its grace and in the peace of its benedictions. We never came home from an absence that its face did not light up and speak out in eloquent welcome – and we could not enter it unmoved.”
Barry DuBois, realestate.com