People often ask us “how do I find a builder?”

It can be confusing….competence, trust, ability, personality…’s not easy. Finding a builder to build your renovation or new home requires patience, diligence and time.

To begin with, you’ll need to find a few builders if you want to get competitive prices for the job. Our advice – get at least three quotes for any building work so you can be confident that you get a fulsome picture – cost, time and competence. When you issue drawings and specifications to several builders it’s common for one or two to lose interest, regardless of how keen they might have seemed during your early discussions. This doesn’t mean that they’re unreliable ……..although it might be…… it’s also likely that they have won another job in the meantime or that the job is not quite what they had expected.

The first and fundamental question you should ask a potential tenderer is whether they are registered/licensed. The type of registration/licence number indicates that they are compliant with state legislation, thereby providing you with all the local consumer protection measures if something goes wrong.

Once you’ve established their statutory credentials, ask for the details of some referees. A short phone conversation with some previous clients can tell you far more about the way they work than a ‘drive-by’ of some of their previous jobs. In any circumstances it’s critical that you all get along!

Also ask about their availability. If you “want to be in by Christmas” (as everyone does!) there’s not much point in asking for a price from a busy builder who can’t start until well into the New Year – you’ll be wasting their time and yours.

Last of all, check the tenders carefully. Cost is not the only thing to consider but for many it’s the most important.

Make sure your drawings and specifications are comprehensive and that the builders have included everything. Be especially wary of Provisional Allowances… if these allowances are inadequate you’ll be paying more later. That means don’t make major items subject to Provisional Allowances – especially cabinets and other finishing trades.

Make sure you allow plenty of time to ensure that you find the best builder for your project and make sure you know how to go about it properly. That should include an architect administering your building contract.