A Guide To Hiring The Right Builder
Building or renovating your home is the largest investment people usually make, so it is important to get it right from the start by choosing the right builder. It is crucial to spend time researching your potential builder. Remember, you will likely be working together for a substantial period of time, so as in any relationship, there needs to be trust and clear, honest communication. You need to have confidence in the builder’s ability to deliver the quality and service you expect. The building process starts long before a wall is even demolished. This is why it is important to do your homework choosing the right builder for the job.
TO BREAK IT DOWN, THE RIGHT BUILDER SHOULD:
- Hold the appropriate qualifications
- Be licensed
- Have a good reputation
- Be competitive on price
- Maintain open lines of communication
ARE THEY LEGITIMATE?It pays to check up on your builder’s qualifications and legitimate builders will not mind you doing so. An easy way to check this is to check the ATO for their business name or ABN to ensure their registration is still valid. Be wary of anyone who has a string of different businesses in their name.
ARE THEY LICENSED?All builders MUST be registered with the Building Commission in Western Australia. This is the entity that regulates the process of obtaining a Builders Licence and allows builders to then contract directly with you for various building work projects. When you use a registered builder, you minimise your chances in your project being involved in a construction failure as the builder has the professional skill set to carry out tasks without falling into major pitfalls. You may confirm your builder’s registration by checking the Register of Builders online, or by asking the builder to see their registration card/ certificate. Licensing is vital as it will protect you from unqualified contractors and insurance will protect you if there are any unforeseen problems. Tradesmen such as electricians, plumbers, builders, gasfitters and anyone doing refrigeration and air conditioning work all NEED to hold a license. These tradesmen may be subcontractors on your renovation, be sure to check them also.
ARE THEY INSURED?All builders should hold public liability insurance, which protects them against third party personal injuries and property damage and the costs of a legal claim. It will also give you peace of mind while they are undertaking your project. For projects over the value of $20,000, the builder must take out Home Indemnity Insurance (HII) also known as Home and Builder’s Warranty Insurance in the name of the owner prior to the building permit being granted to protect owners against financial loss if a builder fails to complete satisfactory building work due to death, disappearance or insolvency. This policy covers the building work during the construction period and for six years from the date of ‘practical completion’. Ask to see your builder’s insurance certificates, ensuring they remain current for the entire duration of your renovation or build.
WHAT IS THEIR REPUTATION?Check out if your builder has any social media pages or a website. Look at all previous customer reviews and testimonials. Note that companies can delete negative Facebook reviews from their page, but they cannot delete google reviews. Look at past projects to see if they can match in with your style and specifications. Don’t be afraid to ask for references. Reputable builders will be happy to provide you with this information. You can also check with your local council and with the W.A. Building Commission to see if the builder has any current or past building disputes.
PRICE IS A FACTOR, BUT NOT BECAUSE IT IS THE LOWEST.Look for a detailed explanation of price and inclusions in the cost when comparing builders. You don’t want to get unexpected variations, oversights or exclusions that could cost you money. Be prepared to pay for builder’s quotes. The builder will put the quality and time into creating an accurate and comprehensive price proposal for you which will minimise the chance of any cost blowouts. Many builder’s offer ‘free quotes’ but in reality, they still charge for these quotes by working it into their price. For more reading on this, click here.
WILL THEY BE RELIABLE THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS?Ask how many projects the company is currently undertaking. This will give you an indication of the size and devotion to your project. Whilst multiple projects could seem like a good indication of reliability, it may suggest they could have issues completing your project properly and professionally. Ask your builder how they mitigate and handle blowouts. The reality of renovations is that there are sometimes unforeseen and unavoidable hiccups. By asking your builder how they manage these and even more so, how they mitigate against them, you will get a clear indication on how they will communicate with you throughout your entire project.
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS…
- Are you licensed for my job?
- Can you show me a certificate of insurance?
- Do you have references I can follow up?
- Can I see some examples of your workmanship?
- What systems do you have in place to keep me informed, advise on issues and seek input on decisions?