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Building your dream home will likely be the single largest investment you’ll ever make. On top of that, there’s a good chance you’ll spend the rest of your life in your new abode. Of course, it’s crucial you get the job done right. And the most critical step towards a stress-free and successful build is to choose the right contractor for the job.
But with so many fly-by-night home builders on the market, how can you determine who’s got what it takes? Asking the following questions can help you separate the wheat from the chaff.
Are you licensed?
An unlicensed builder is a tell-tale sign of a dodgy operator, so it’s crucial to determine whether yours holds all the relevant certifications. But don’t just take their word for it, for you can quickly check for yourself. Every state in Australia maintains an online register of all the house builders licensed to operate in their jurisdiction.
What Insurance Do You Have?
Hiring an uninsured builder is a risky proposition which could cost you dearly.
Ask your builder if they possess the following:
- Home Indemnity Insurance to cover insolvency and an unfinished job
- Public Liability Insurance to cover on-site injuries
- Construction Insurance to cover property damage
Remember, it’s ultimately the homeowner’s responsibility to ensure their construction site is adequately insured. Ask for copies of your builder’s policies if in doubt.
How Long Have You Been In Business?
An established and experienced builder is always a safer bet than the new kid off the block. Long-lasting companies will invariably advertise their experience on their website, so you can double-check the builder’s claims online.
Can I See Some of Your Previous Work?
Even if you don’t have any experience in construction, inspecting a previous build can give you a pretty good idea of the quality of the workmanship involved.
Ideally, you’d arrange to inspect a former client’s home and ask them an array of questions about the construction process and the final result. Of course, this isn’t always possible, so you might have to make do with inspecting a display home instead.
Will You Provide A Detailed List of the Inclusions And Exclusions?
The last thing you want is to finalise a lengthy and stressful construction process only to get hit with an array of unexpected and costly add-ons at the eleventh hour. Avoid any unpleasant surprises upon completion by insisting on a comprehensive list to detail exactly what is and isn’t included in the contract.
Have You Ever Been Bankrupted?
Bankruptcy is a pretty obvious red flag, so it’s in your best interest to know whether your builder has gone under. Again, a shady operator won’t always give you an honest answer, so it’s worth digging around a little yourself online. The Bankruptcy Registry Search on the Australian Financial Security Authority website is the best place to start.
Do You Work In My Area?
A builder in a faraway suburb may prefer to subcontract the job out to someone closer to your home, and that someone won’t necessarily adhere to the same stringent quality standards. Check whether your builder is prepared to travel to your site each day to perform the work themselves.
Who Will Be Supervising The Construction And Who Will Be On Site Each Day?
The supervisor is the most important person on-site, so it’s worth finding out who they are and checking their credentials. Likewise, you could also ask for a list of the other workers expected to attend each day.
How Long Will Construction Last?
You’re clearly going to be super excited about moving into your brand new home, so it’s essential to manage expectations of when you’ll receive the keys. Ask the builder for an honest appraisal of how long the entire process will last, and see if they can back that up with evidence from a previous build.
How Long Will The Maintenance Period Last?
Any builder worth their salt will include a maintenance period where they come to fix up imperfections with your newly constructed home. The average maintenance period for an Australian house is six months.
Do You Use Imported Materials?
Unlike other industries, imported goods are often worse than domestic materials as they don’t have to comply with strict Australian regulations. If your builder is using materials from overseas, you should confirm these comply with our minimum standards.
Taking the time to ask the aforementioned questions will see you well on your way to selecting the ideal builder for your new home. And with a reputable professional in charge, the quality of your dream home is all but guaranteed.