Building or Renovating? 5 questions to ask a builder

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If you are planning to build a new home or renovate an existing one, then finding the right builder to work with is one of the most important decisions you will have to make. The builder you select can make all the difference between creating a positive and rewarding building experience, otherwise one costly disaster.

Part of the builder selection process should be a good due diligence of the builder’s history and customer track record.  Much of this can be established through asking the right questions and doing a few basis checks upfront.

Along with checking the builder is fully licensed and insured, Tradebusters offers the following 5 questions to ask when choosing a builder:

1. How long have you operated your business for?

Obviously the longer the better. Be wary of a builder that tells you they have been in business for more than several years yet have only a recently new ABN number. It could indicate the builder has closed previous businesses due to legal problems or bankruptcy.

2. Will you be using employees or sub-contractors?

Find out if they are tradespeople that he/she have worked with previously. With subcontractors, confirm if they have their own insurances, or if they will be covered under the builders’ policies.

3. How many other projects will you be running at the same time?

You don’t want to start your project, only to find out the builder disappears for weeks on another. Find out how often they expect to be on your site daily.

4. What is your timeframe for project completion?

Establish clear target start and finish dates. A good builder should present you with a project time plan for the different stages of construction.

5. Can I see examples of your other projects?

This is perhaps the most important check you should do. Interview their previous clients about the experience and validate some of the other answers provided by the builder. Ask if there were any significant cost or time blow outs, any quality shortcomings and understand how the builder handled issues that arose during the project.