Questions To Ask A Builder Before Hiring

Looking to hire a builder for your next construction project? Here’s a list of the must-ask questions before signing the dotted line.

The experience of building your dream home can become a nightmare if you go with the wrong builder. It’s really important that you choose the right builder for your home.

Not all builders are created equal, and only the best can deliver on all the promises made before signing the contract. The trouble is before the construction begins, you can’t really tell whether the builder you’ve hired is the right one.

Questions to ask a builder

Hiring a builder requires significant investment on your side, which is why you’ll want to assess their capabilities before committing. To help you do just that, here’s a list of the top questions that you must ask a builder before signing the contract.

Let’s take a look at what these questions are.

Questions You Should Ask A Builder

1. Are You Registered And Insured?

This is the first and perhaps one of the most critical questions that you should ask any builder before taking things forward. A registered builder complies with all the required construction norms and regulations laid down by the civic authorities.

Ensure that the builder is licensed in the state and local region you are looking to hire them for, each Australian state has it’s own regulations and requirements for builders. You can find them here:

Further, registered builders are usually insured, which means that the insurance covers the costs in case of any untoward incident during the construction process.

An insured and registered builder can provide your project with the required legal and financial security.

2. What Level Of Customisation Do You Offer?

While brochures for builders always display the best, in reality, most builders will try to keep costs lower by offering run-of-the-mill floor plans. The customisations that they offer will only be cosmetic, and anything substantial can add to your expenses.

This can greatly depend on whether you’re getting an architectural home or a project home. Personalisation of your home is vital to ensuring the end product is the home you love from the beginning.

That’s why, before you hire the builder, make sure to ask about the level of customisation that’s included in the budget. A fair builder will always give you the option of extensive customisations at reasonable price-points.

Customisations range from adding a raked ceiling to adding a new bedroom or completely changing the floor plan right down to the handles and colour palettes in each room.

3. What’s Your Reporting Process?

As the homeowner, you’ll naturally want to be kept in-the-know during the construction process.

The best-quality builders will always keep you up to date with weekly reports, and make sure you’re aware of on-site changes in real-time.

So, it would be best if you asked your builder about their reporting process. What’s the reporting frequency? Are they going to have a dedicated contact person? Don’t hesitate to get all these details cleared at the very outset.

The process in which a report is handed down can greatly impact the build time, progression and quality of the finished product.

4. What’s Your Quality Control System?

The next thing you’ll need to be aware of is the quality control measures that the builder has in place.

During the construction process, quality control is the one aspect you can’t compromise on. Whether it’s the finishing or durability, quality must be the determining factor.

So, ask your builder about the nitty-gritty of their quality control measures.

From where do they source their materials? Do the staff have the right credentials and experience? An upfront builder will not have any hesitation in letting you know about their entire quality control process.

Most builders hire contractors to complete work, such as a plumber, electrician, render, pools and roofing. All handled by other businesses, the contractor the builder chooses can impact the quality control of the entire home.

Knowing the builder has picked their contractors based on quality and not price can make all the difference.

5. Can I Visit Some Projects You’ve Handled Previously?

While every builder will claim to be the best, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. When you’re trying to assess a builder’s competency, the only foolproof method is to have a real walk-through of some of their past projects.

Going through some homes that your builder of choice has worked on before will give you a sense of the final quality. Plus, in case the property you’re visiting is an old one, you can also get a clear idea of how the home will age.

All this will undoubtedly help you in your decision making.

Be sure to inspect homes within your budget though, it’s all too easy to show you multi-million dollar homes with high-end finishes. It’s important that you are not inspecting display homes or homes outside your budget to compare apples to apples.

6. Can You Give Me A Few Recent References?

While visiting past properties can give you a good idea of the builder’s quality, talking to a couple of their clients is even better.

Ask the builder for some recent references, and have a talk with these homeowners to get an idea of how your builder operates.

In case you find your builder unwilling to give references, this probably means that their clients weren’t happy with their work, or they’re not as experienced as they claimed.

Most builders will happily hand over references, be sure these references are for works you’re looking to have done. A home renovation is very different from a custom built home.

7. What’s The Warranty Period You Provide?

The warranty that a builder is willing to provide is a clear sign of the confidence they have in their work.

A long term warranty proves that the builder is willing to stand by their finished product. This indicates quality construction that lasts a long time.

Ask the builder about the type and duration of the warranty that they provide. In general, leading builders will deliver reasonable warranty periods covering cosmetic as well as structural damages.

Although in New South Wales a standard warranty only lasts for 13 weeks, a builder can have their own from a structural guarantee. Appliances and fittings installed in your home will also have warranties which can range from 12 months to 10 years.

Ask your builder about their warranties, and more importantly, what they cover.

8. When Can You Complete The Project?

A good builder always knows the time it’ll take to complete a particular project. It’s true that construction is not an accurately measurable process. Several factors, ranging from trouble sourcing materials to weather problems, can delay even the best routines.

Still, if your builder knows what they’re doing, they should be able to give you a ballpark figure about the general timeline of your project.

Ask for specific milestone points, such as how long it would take to lay the foundation, for a better assessment.

Just as important to the completion date is how delays are handled. When a catastrophic weather event hits, how the builder handles the situation can be just as important.

9. What’ll Be The Cost?

This, of course, is the most important factor for most people.

Getting an accurate estimate of the construction costs is essential for being able to source funds, most banks are not interested until a quote is given. A good builder will always be transparent with the prices and give you a watertight budget with reasonable room for change.

Be sure you are checking what extras may arise, the finishes and is this a set final price or an estimate. Building companies are far to quick to under quote and charge for minor details. A quality builder will include adjustments within their initial price.

10. What’s Your Cancellation Policy?

No one knows what tomorrow holds, and you may have to stop, postpone, or even cancel the contract due to unforeseen circumstances.

Make sure that there’s a provision to do so in the builder’s contract.

Comfortable cancellation policies can save you many headaches in the long run, it’s important that both you and the builder are covered in the unfortunate event of a cancellation.

Final Words

Getting your own home built can be a dream come true. But before choosing a builder, you need to ask these questions to make sure that they are suitable for the job. Otherwise, you might just end up working with the wrong one, which can be really expensive.

At Buildrite, our construction experts can help you get the perfect home. Using quality materials and experienced professionals, we get the job done without you needing to lift a finger.

Just leave it to us, and watch your vision come to life!

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