What is your first thought when someone mentions the word “Builder”? Does it conjure up scary images of roofs flapping in the wind, water dripping from light fittings or even more distressing, your bank account being drained by all the “extras”?
Now, these scenarios do occur, unfortunately, and we hear about them all too often. Like any industry, there are always a few “bad apples” that do not deliver on the quality & expertise that they are charging for. What makes the building industry hard to navigate for the general public is the understanding of building disciplines, rules & regulations and processes. Knowing the right questions to ask a Builder (see our previous blog “Interview with a Builder”), understanding what your contract includes and conducting background research on a Builder you may want to engage.
So, how do you navigate through the industry to find the Builder best suited to your needs? Well, let’s look at a few steps you should take (along with some useful information), to help find the right one!
Firstly, narrow it down. The internet is a wonderful tool to access free information about anything you need, so start there. Searching Builders that can undertake your type of project and narrowing that list down to about three, is a good place to begin. Perusing a Builder’s website is a place to start but a decision should not be made on that alone. It should, however, give you an idea on how many projects the Builder has undertaken and perhaps how long they have been operating.
Secondly, which is something most will not think to do, is delve a little deeper into the company and its credibility. Engaging with relevant legal registers to ascertain whether your “short-listed” Builder/ building company has had any legal action in the past or any outstanding legal action. This is a red flag and you may want to reconsider approaching this Builder.
Once you have narrowed your selection to approximately three, we suggest making contact with the Builder to conduct a “meet and greet”. Now you may have plans to bring, or perhaps you haven’t gone that far in your process and you have just acquired the land – it does not matter at this stage. Your sit down with a Builder will give you a better understanding of who they are and how they operate.
A “meet and greet” will be a big turning point in your construction journey. Some points to think about here is whether you can see yourself working with this person, because at the end of the day you will be working closely with them for a set out period of time and being able to communicate effectively is important. You want to have that feeling of professionalism and trustworthiness too. If your feeling is “a little off” then that is a big sign to cross that Builder off the list!
Another avenue of “doing your homework” is to make contact with previous clients, Architects involved with the Builder and perhaps even Trade references. This is something to ask for during your meet & greet. Also, it may be a good time to ask for addresses of previous builds so you can inspect the quality of work (at least from the outside).
So what are the key take away points here? Research is paramount, talk to people, it is so valuable to hear from others experiences. Use the internet and all appropriate avenues to get a real understanding of the Builder and their building company.
A “meet & greet” early on is a must. Come prepared with your list of questions, no matter how trivial they may seem, ask them and take lots of notes. Notes are handy for comparing Builders and your meeting may be long, it will be hard to commit everything to memory!
And lastly, above all, trust your gut! That may sound cliche but it really is important to feel positive during and after a meeting. If you come away with doubts or an unsettling feeling, well they may not be the Builder for you.
If you are in the market for a reputable, professional building company, we welcome you to get in touch with us. Speak with one of our friendly team members and schedule your meet & greet.
Ph (08) 61803853. Alternatively, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org