Building a new home or renovation will likely be the largest and most exciting project you will ever embark on for you and your family. Choose the right home builder and it will be a stress-free enjoyable experience; choose the wrong home builder and it can be a heartbreaking, stressful and often costly lesson.
Searching for the right builder can be overwhelming. Most builders appear to be qualified, experienced and professional. So how do you know who to trust with this major financial investment?
To find a home builder who is the right fit for you and your project, there are 7 critical questions you should ask before you choose your builder. The first question is:
Is the Builder Right For Your Project?
To answer this, check –
Is the builder licensed to build in Victoria?
The most important thing to remember when selecting your home builder is that they must be registered with the Victorian Building Authority. Using an appropriately licensed builder will ensure that your project is completed by someone with the necessary qualifications and expertise. Also, using anyone else will jeopardise your domestic building insurance cover.
You can check whether a home builder is registered by contacting the Victorian Building Authority, by performing an online check or simply asking to see the builder’s registration card.
Does the builder hold the correct insurances?
Check the home builder holds:
- Construction Works Insurance
- Public and Products Liability Insurance
- WorkCover Insurance
and is eligible to take out a job specific domestic building insurance policy for your project. Ask to see certificates of currency for these insurances and check expiry dates and the sums insured.
Also, if you are planning a renovation or extension, you may need your builder to insure the existing structure for you. Different home insurers have different criteria and requirements when it comes to insuring homes during building works. If your home insurer refuses to provide cover, you may need your builder to arrange this for you. Make sure this is something the builder would be able and prepared to do.
Does the builder have the right skills and experience to undertake your project?
This is particularly important if your design requires special construction skills or you plan to build in a difficult location.
Also, renovations and extensions require specialist skills and expertise in working with existing buildings, so builders who only build new homes may not be the best choice for a renovation or extension project.
No matter what style of home or renovation you’re planning, your home builder should be able to work in that style and design. They should also be able to advise you on ways to incorporate various elements into your home so that it matches the existing style.
Many builders specialise in a particular style so it may be worth searching for one that can build exactly what you are looking for. If you are not sure what it is that you are after, a builder should be able to assist you with some options.
Take a look at some of the builder’s past projects, this will allow you to see if the builder can work to your style and specification. Ask for references and visit sites in person if possible. Past clients may be willing to share their experiences.
Is your property in the builder’s patch?
Ask the builder where they do most of their work. If it’s not in your area, they may have to source alternative, untested supervisors and subcontractors which may lead to substandard work.
Also, greater travel distances may mean that the builder isn’t able to attend the property at short notice.
The other 6 critical questions to ask before you choose your builder are set out in our free guide – the 7 Critical Questions to Ask Before You Choose Your Builder. Download it now to learn:
How to avoid getting caught out by builders charging you more than you were expecting
13 things your contract SHOULD include
The rules for deposits and progress payments
and more handy tips