Remember that things will happen along the way that are unforeseen, and it is critical that you and your builder are able to come together as a team to solve the issue as effectively as possible. You might think “easier said than done”, but there are a few simple strategies that we have found effective when we have been both the builder and when we have been the client:
1. Regular Contact
Stay in regular contact with your builder throughout the job and discuss any queries you might have with him as they arise. Weekly on-site meetings are a good option and will assist both you and the builder in keeping the job running smoothly.
2. Establish Contact Hours
Come to a mutual agreement on what you both consider reasonable contact hours. This is important to negotiate from the very beginning. Some builders are happy to answer calls at 9pm on a Sunday night about the tiles in your bathroom, others prefer to only be contacted within business hours except for emergencies. While you should both try to be flexible, also respect your builder’s personal life and keep late night phone calls for emergencies. As a general rule of thumb – if it can wait until the morning, save it!
3. Finalise Meeting Minutes
After a meeting with your builder it is a good idea to follow up with an email that outlines the meeting points, or ask your builder to do some ‘meeting minutes’. This ensures that there will be no confusion as to what was agreed upon, and you both have a solid document to refer to and build upon as you go.
4. Don’t be Afraid to Speak Up
Most importantly – it is your home and your renovation! So be sure to speak up if you are unhappy about something. The sooner a problem is identified, the sooner it can be resolved…and with less collateral damage. Your builder’s key goal is to build a home that you love and finish the job with a client who is 100% happy with the result.
5. Share Positive Feedback
In the same way that you would speak your mind in the event that you are unhappy about something, be sure to let your builder know when you are happy too. Your builder will take great pride in the work they do and positive feedback will only spur your builder and his team on!
6. Build a Relationship
Finding common interests with your builder will help you build a strong relationship outside of the works. Informal chats over an occasional morning coffee or a Friday afternoon beverage goes a long way.
In the end, the relationship that you have with your builder is just like any other relationship in your life: the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it.