Jul 16, 2015

Top 10 Tips For Finding a Good Builder

Have you ever wondered if you’ve done everything you show to find the right builder?  Where are trusted sources and information to help guide you in your search?  To help you in your search for the perfect builder, here are 10 tips to finding the right builder for you.

1. Your designer or Architect: This is a great resource for you as your designer or architect will have had contact with builders to bring their creations to fruition.  They will be able to let you know which one’s they’ve worked with that did a good job and the others to stay away from.  They remain one of the best contacts who know your local building scene and is worth contacting to help you.

2. Talk to Building Inspectors: They are ultimately tasked with ensuring that new buildings in their area get built to the best possible standard, and to that end many are happy to engage in informal advice to help guide you to find the best builder for you.

3. Other Tradesmen: Tap into the local tradesman community and you’ll quickly be able to find out the main names who command local respect and the ones to stay away from.  If you can engage with one of them, you can open up into the whole network of local, reliable names.

4. Neighbours, Family & Friends: Neighbours, friends and family are a great source of names for reliable builders in your local area.  Just be careful that there work may look good, but may not be properly done.  Still check out the company afterwards with the suggestions above.

5. Past Customers:  Find out how happy they were with the quality of the workmanship and the builder’s conduct.  You should ask to see a couple of major projects they have completed and see them, preferably in their absence, in person to talk to the owners. Two or three references can provide significant peace of mind.

6. Company Signs on Active Sites:  One of the best ways to find good builders currently active near you is to find local building work that’s going on and check out the company signs to find out who is building the project.  It is also a good sign when you’re the person with the builder on site that they put up their own boards. They are displaying confidence that things will turn out correctly and it will not be a stagnating site.

7. False Membership Claims:  It is a crime to falsely claim affiliations or connections, including those to trade associations.  So call and make sure they are a bona fide member.

8. Avoid Low Prices: A high price is not necessarily a sign of quality in a building firm but, more than that, it is important to resist the obvious temptations of a low price. If one firm comes back with a quote for your work which is significantly lower than the other tender prices, you need to be suspicious. It may just be that the other quotes are excessively high and the one firm is simply good value, but more likely the one firm is putting in a speculative bid to try and get the work — and aims to make more profit on the project by, for instance, cutting corners or introducing a range of extra charges as work progresses. Either that or, as they begin to find the work hopelessly unprofitable and end up making a loss on it, they simply pack up and walk off to more lucrative pastures.  So choose wisely.

9. Details In Writing:  Get full details on your quote in writing of what is covered and what is not. This should include site maintenance, clearance, material supplies etc.  Be straight about money with your builder and agree payment terms clearly in writing.  Avoid paying upfront or a cash deposit.  It should not be needed unless you request specialist building materials or the job is likely to take a long time to complete.  Are they offering a guarantee on a large scale job?  If it is a new build you will need a guarantee on the property.  Your contract should outline what work is to be done, start/completion dates, security, safety, the cost of the work and materials, payment plans, catering and lavatory arrangements, hours of work, cleaning up and the disposal of waste materials.  The more the better.

10. Insured Builder:  They should have insurance coverage to protect themselves against property damage and personal and public liability to protect you and the general public in the event of accident or injury.