How do I choose the right builder?

Selecting the right builder is the most important decision when planning a building project and should be done as early as possible.  It is likely to take 1 to 2 years to design and build a new house or a major renovation. This is a significant time to spend with a professional through meetings, consultations and consistent decision making. Finding the right builder and developing that all-important relationship will ensure your enjoyment, peace of mind during the build and your ideal end result.

It is vitally important that you select a builder that has sufficient experience and expertise in executing the specific type of project you are planning and is able to confidently and clearly communicate and share their knowledge and procedures throughout the design and building process.

  1. After you have identified three or four suitable builders in your local area and you have thoroughly researched their website and social media pages, (Instagram, Linkedin, Facebook & Houzz at a minimum) you must personally interview each builder to see how well they answer the following 10 questions?
  2. How long have they been a registered builder and a member of the “Master Builders Association” or “Housing Industry Association” and ask to see their building registration card.
  3. How many “building warranty claims” have they had since they first became a registered builder and can they explain the details of these warranty claims.  (Check the Victorian Building Authority’s website).
  4. Who will be the “Project Manager” for the duration of my building project and how often will we have site meetings with the project manager.  Will we receive detailed meeting notes after each of these site meetings?
  5. What will happen if my building project runs over the completion date stated in the building contract?
  6. Which architects have you worked with and have you completed many “architect designed” projects?
  7. What items are typically excluded from your building contract price and how much should I allow to cover the cost of all these excluded items?
  8. What is your procedure for handling “building variations” and what percentage should I allow to cover the cost of variations throughout my project?
  9. How do you handle the interior design for your projects including the selection and specifying of all interior fittings and finishes?
  10. Do you build or project manager swimming pools and or landscape gardening?
  11. Can you supply 3 or 4 references from your previous clients and architects?

I believe that a builder’s pricing must be competitive and in line with other specialist builders.  So, I recommend and personally use a system called a negotiated tender. This is a fully transparent system where you select a builder based on their reputation and experience and establish a close working relationship right from the start of the design process.  This way you, the builder and the architect can all work together as a team to ensure the best possible outcome and a thoroughly enjoyable experience along the way.



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