Tips for selecting a builder

Date Published 20 May 2016

Selecting a builder that meets your requirements

Choosing a builder for your home renovation or new build can be a daunting prospect. These many things to consider such as your requirements and budget, the builder’s experience with similar projects, their reputation and credentials, and availability.

Define your requirements

How much weight you give to each of the above factors will vary depending on your needs. It is essential that you define your requirements before you approach potential builders, particularly if the project is complex.

This can be completed by pre-arranging fully-engineered plans or working with an architect or draftsman associated with your builder of choice.

Once the plans are finalised, the builder will be in a position to give you an accurate quote and this will form the basis of your contract with them.

Identify any special requirements that you might need early and whether your builder would need to possess those skills or be able to find a contractor that can carry them out for you.

It is also prudent to check that you are a fit for each other and that the builder has experience in handling projects of a similar size and scope.

Reputation and credentials

When assessing credentials don’t leave it to reputation alone. Check testimonials, ask to view past projects or you may even like to contact Master Builders Australia.

Interpreting and comparing quotes

Assess the quotes against your key criteria and requirements. As you compare responses try to make a direct comparison. Look for explanations behind the prices that show a clear understanding of your requirements.

A slapdash approach to quotes gives an indication of what the company might be like to work with. You should also watch out for rush jobs where a quote comes back too quickly or those that miss your deadline.

Beware quotes that look too cheap and give scant information, or any that contain too many estimates.

At the other end of the spectrum, a quote that appears over-priced should have legitimate reasons for the variation. Check for materials and methods that standout when compared with others.

Making your final decision

Throughout the process be mindful of how the builder communicates with you. If you have established a good rapport it is hopeful that will continue once you start working together.

Ensure that you meet your project manager or key contact before making your final decision as your ability to strike up a good relationship with them will make for a smoother build process.

Being clear and up front about your requirements from the outset will help builders to quote for the work. Decide upon the critical factors required, approach the project methodically and you will make an informed decision on the builder that’s right for you and your project.