The top ten questions to ask your potential Builder.
When you are in the market for a Builder and it comes down to the initial meeting, treat it like an interview. You want to walk away from that meeting with all your questions answered and a strong indication whether or not they are the right Builder for you and your project.
So what are the questions you should be asking and what are the questions we get asked all the time?
Well, to be honest, there is probably more than ten, but let’s focus on the ten most important ones. (Oh, and the below are in no particular order of importance!)
Are you a registered Builder?
Seems like a silly question? Well, it isn’t. As we all know, there are cowboys in every industry, the construction/ building industry, unfortunately has many. The first step is to check your Builders’ registration, a simple online search is all it takes.
How long have you been operating?
Getting the back story, experience and years in business will give you a better understanding of the company. A company which has been in the business for a solid number of years is a sometimes a good indication of a reputable company (key word, “sometimes”, so don’t base everything around longevity!)
How many projects have you undertaken?
If you have done your homework prior to the meeting (googling the potential Builders’ website etc.), you would of have an idea of how many completed projects they have undertaken, but still ask the question. Let the Builder showcase their past projects, in their own words, and then this opens up the dialogue to what disciplines/ aspects of construction they have undertaken, for example, installing overhead cranes or cool rooms. Knowing your chosen Builder has had the experience in all different areas is a definite “tick” against their name.
Can I view your recently completed projects?
Asking for addresses of recently completed builds should not be a big ask. Your Builder should be forthcoming with this information. Now, you may not be able to enter the premises due to it being occupied, but a “drive-by” should not pose a problem and it gives you a visual of the standard of work (at least from the outside). Do ask for a tour of an internal completed build, if the circumstances allow your Builder should be happy to show you through.
Can you supply a few client references?
ALWAYS ask for this. Past experiences from past clients is invaluable. Website testimonials are good, but being able to call or email a past client is better. A phone call is generally more effective in receiving honest, less scripted feedback, as you may be catching them “off-guard”. Having perhaps two or three client references should be suffice.
How many projects are you currently undertaking?
Important to know. Commercial projects are generally large scale, so if your Builder has 7 to 8 projects on the go, how is yours going to fit in and around their workload? You want to be certain that your development isn’t going to be delayed due to there being too much on the Builder’s plate.
Can I meet the Site Supervisor?
Not many people ask for this, but to be honest, you should. Getting to meet the Site Supervisor, even just briefly, will give you an idea of his level of professionalism and his personality etc. If meeting isn’t something that can be arranged then ask about his experience, how long he has been with the company?, has he run all previous projects on time?
As well as the Builder, you will be dealing with the Site Supervisor on your project and having confidence in their ability is important.
What is your payment schedule?
BIG one. When discussing money be very frank. Most Builders will have a progress claim schedule that yourself or your bank will have to pay down on. Know the total cost of a project and the initial deposit. Ask to see a generic breakdown of a progress claim so you are aware of the stages and how the project is dissected in terms of payments.
Is there a construction timeline that is issued to me?
You should ascertain a start date and a finish date, with all the stages scheduled in between. Your Builder should be able to provide you with a timeline that breaks down each stage of construction from how long earthworks will take to when panels will be lifted. Do bear in mind though, weather is a factor which may throw out the timeline a little, especially starting a project during the winter months.
Asking to see a previous schedule will give you a pretty good idea on how a Builder will run your project to meet it’s deadline.
How is your company’s safety record?
A company’s safety record does indicate if they are lax on procedures and protocol or if they value their business and workers. A good, clean record with Sub-contractors who follow all safety measures is important. A Builder who fails to meet safety standards time and time again would be on the “radar”, so to speak, which may cause their sites to be shut down by Worksafe due to non-compliance. A shut down site is slowing the progress of your project, so a company’s safety record cannot be ignored.
In Perth, with the sheer number of building companies, your choices are almost endless, but navigating through to find the one that is most suited to you and your project can be a bit of a long, daunting process.
We get it. We understand that entering into a working relationship with a Builder can be a scary thing, that’s why we are transparent, offering you honest opinions, real deadlines and working through any concerns and queries all before any contract is entered into.
So if you are in the market for a Commercial Builder, why not consider Buildcom. Get in touch to schedule your appointment with the Director/ Builder of Buildcom and find out why many have chosen us to undertake their projects. (08) 6180 3853.