Remember that different styles of projects require different builders. It is important to identify what type project you have and to find a builder that matches the experience required for your unique job. Don’t be afraid to ask the builder what they specialise in, and always, always meet with a minimum of 3 different builders.
Here are some of the most important things to keep an eye out for when trying to find a builder:
Are they a member of an association?
Any experienced builder will likely be a member of either the Housing Industry Association (HIA) or the Master Builders Association (MBA). Being a member of either association allows a builder access to a wide variety of information, training, advice and contracts. Belonging to an association will also mean that the business and builder is engaged in the ongoing professional development, which is essential, allowing the builder to keep up to date with current trends and building technologies.
Do they have a licence or HBCF Insurance eligibility?
A builder needs a builders licence to carry out any building work. You can easily check a licence by following this link: https://www.onegov.nsw.gov.au/publicregister/#/publicregister/search/Trades
Also, be sure to check the HBCF Insurance matches the builder’s name. HBCF Insurance is commonly known as home warranty insurance and is required for any work over $20,000. This insurance covers you in the event that faulty work has been carried out and requires rectification and the builder is nowhere to be found. This is something you want to check and double check so that you are not left in a sticky situation
Have they shown you references and a portfolio of previous work?
It is important that your builder can show you a portfolio of their previous work, and that you are happy with the result. I am always pleased to be asked about previous jobs we have done. It allows me the opportunity to showcase our work to a new client. It is always sad to leave behind a job that we have spent months perfecting, so it is always great to revisit it with a prospective new client. Doing this with your builder will allow you to see the quality of the work and additionally meet (or at least speak) with previous clients who can testify to his/her credentials. Don’t be afraid to ask previous clients about their experience of the build and their experience with the company; they were once in your shoes trying to find the perfect builder, so they should understand the importance of speaking with you. I would avoid any builder who is reluctant to provide references or an opportunity to view previous work.
It is always tempting to go with the cheapest quote which might be ok if the difference is marginal, however, beware the unrealistically low price. A low price usually means something has been missed and not included in the quote. It also means that it is likely that the focus is on finishing your job as quickly and cheaply as possible, which is likely going to leave you with a cheap result. Speak with the builders who have given a higher quote about how to reduce your cost if your budget is an issue, and often they will be able to explore different options with you to reduce your cost, without compensating the quality of the work.
If it’s too good to be true, it usually is. Avoid the cheap & nasty builder because ultimately you may end up spending more money than you would have in the first place, fixing dodgy work!