Once you've planned your home renovations, it's time to find the builder who’ll bring those blueprints to life. Throughout the building process, it’s likely you’ll have some differing opinions , but hiring a great builder will mean you feel at ease leaving them inside your home unattended, confident that the job’s getting done properly without corners being cut, and safe in the knowledge you won’t wind up with a bill that’s higher than you had expected. Before you choose your builder, read these tips for sorting the good from the bad.
Check their qualifications
Ensure your builder has the correct accreditation from the Master Builders’ Association and that they’re licensed for the type of work they’re undertaking. It’s illegal for a commercial builder to carry out domestic work.
Ask to see previous work
Whether in person or through a folio of photographs, looking at a builder’s previous work will give you a good sense of the types of projects they’ve completed and their style. If you can, speak to someone who has worked with them to get an idea of the way they work. You’ll find some builders simply do the job at hand, while others will seek out ways to improve the build and offer their expert advice on things like materials to use, and techniques for maximising natural light.
Do a personality check
Sit down and have a coffee with your potential builder to not only discuss the nuances of the job, but to get a good sense of their personality and whether you clash. There’s bound to be some difficult decisions to make and you’ll want to ensure you’re dealing with someone who is mature and can solve problems, not create drama.
Meet with staff or sub-contractors
Whether your builder is using regular employees or sub-contractors, you’re well within your rights to ask to have a face-to-face meeting with them. They’re likely to be in and out of your home regularly, so you want to be sure they’re professionals you can trust.
Get details on costs
Read everything your builder requests you sign and double check anything you’re unsure of. Even after you’ve done this, it’s a good idea to ask whether there’s any chance you’ll incur extra costs and what the process for mid-build variations is. Some builders charge inflated rates on additional work that goes beyond the initial brief.
When your renovation is finished, you may want to consider using EnergyAustralia’s free online calculator tool to re-evaluate your energy plan.