How to choose a builder

How to choose a builder

We are often asked, who should I build with? Building a new home can be a complex task and one of the most important tasks is to choose a builder that is right for you. Below is a checklist of things to consider.

Standard Inclusions = value!
What are the standard inclusions with the home/price? Some builders will quote a very low home price to start with but probably won’t include site works, a very low soil type allowance and very basic inclusions, now the low price doesn’t look so low! Always look for value in the overall offer and as difficult as it is to compare, try really hard to ensure you are comparing “apples with apples”.

Customer Service
You will be working with your builder for around six months, you need to have a good feeling of trust and confidence in the staff that you can work well together. Customer Service and Communication is one of the most important criteria to consider. Long after the price is delivered and forgotten, service remains.

Build Quality
Check the builders Build Quality – the display homes are a good start. Check the builders current building sites – are they clean, neat and organised or is there mess everywhere? Does the builder have his final product checked by an independent inspector? What are the written results, ask to view copies.

Free Site Evaluation
Will the builder provide a free site evaluation report on your land, even before you have bought the block or signed up with the builder? This evaluation has the potential to save you thousands of dollars.

What’s the build time?
How long will your construction take? Do you get a completion date in writing and a guarantee that this will be achieved?

Can I change the plan?
What flexibility does the builder allow in regard to changing plans and inclusions? Is there a charge to do this? Is there a time delay in this situation, if so, how long? What type of home selection does the builder offer, is the range small and narrow or extensive and broad?

What’s the guarantee?
What guarantees are offered? Are they in writing? Areas to check include; start guarantee, build time guarantee, maintenance inspection (after handover), service guarantee, structural warranty. Is there an effective termite protection guarantee included at no extra cost? It should be Australian Standards Association approved and include a lifetime guarantee.

Client Testimonials

Check for client testimonials in both written and video format. If a number of people have taken the time to do this, it’s a good sign of hard earned loyalty and satisfaction with the builder.

Quality brands used
When checking and comparing inclusions, ask to see the brand names of the inclusions being used. This is another wat some builders cut costs. Always go with known brands across the whole home, you should recognise around 85% of the brands being used – check them! Quality brands will cost a bit more upfront but pay for themselves in the long run via product life, better warranties and local service agents and available parts if something does go wrong.

Is the builder licenced?

Check the builder is licenced, get the licence number and check with the Office of Consumer and Business Affairs (OCBA) – the building industry regulator, this will reveal any unresolved customer issues.

Environmentally responsive
Does the builder make an effort to be environmentally responsive? Is there a range of solar hot water and solar electric available? Does the builder try to reduce their carbon footprint, even in a small way?


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Siobhan Johnson

Patrick Booth

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