If you are planning to build or renovate your home, you need to follow these 5 steps homeowners must do to choose a builder.
You have heard a lot in the news about how the housing and construction industry is experiencing a lot of shaking since last year. Many homeowners and builders are caught in a very challenging situation.
We have casualties with builders going out of business and homeowners were left in distress. Their dream homes project becomes a nightmare. It is a sad situation.
These challenges started as a result of the shortage of materials, increase in cost, time delay, shortage of labour, high inflation and interest rate.
What can homeowners do to ensure that you choose a builder that is right for your project?
5 Steps Homeowners Must Do To Choose A Builder
- Check that the builder is a registered builder
It is important that you work with a registered builder. When a builder is registered, there is accountability and assurance that as homeowners, you are protected by the regulatory body that is authorised to issue the license.
The Victorian Building Authority website has good information regarding engaging a builder. https://www.vba.vic.gov.au/consumers/home-renovation-essentials/engaging-builder
In Victoria, you can do a search to check whether a builder has a valid license from Victorian Building Authority website. https://consumer.etoolbox.buildingcommission.com.au/Pages/Search.aspx
- Check that the business has a valid ABN (Australian Business Number)
It is important to know that the business you are dealing with is a valid business.
Every valid business will be registered with Australian Business Register (ABR) where you can do a search for the validity of the business. Go to the Australian Government Business Register website.
- Check whether a builder is eligible for Domestic Building Insurance
Any building work that cost more than $16,000 is required to have insurance to cover the work in case the builder dies, is declared insolvent or disappears before the work finishes. This insurance is to be taken by the builder who is doing the building works.
See Consumer Affairs Victoria website for more information about Domestic Building Insurance.
To check whether a builder is eligible to take up Domestic Building Insurance, you can go to Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA) website.
- Get references
If you are working with an architect or designer for your home project, the architect or designer will have contacts with builders they can recommend from their previous projects. It is always helpful to get those references.
Involve the architect or designer during the process of getting quotes from builders, assessing the quotes and finalising the selection of the builder.
The architect or designer will help you to check steps 1-3 above and ask the builder for references from their past projects, past clients and subcontractors. The architect and designer will help you gather all the information, assess and present you with a summary so you can make an informed selection of the right builder that suits your project.
- Don’t ignore the red flags
One thing I notice working with homeowners during the stage of selecting the builder for their project, homeowners can get caught up in just looking at the lowest quote.
It is important to pay attention to other things such as the quality of the information given by the builder, the response time, ease of communication, professionalism and how the builder relates to you and your team. Don’t ignore the little red flags that you might pick up from those things.
I have worked with homeowners who are good at picking up those little red flags. As an architect, my role is to give professional assessment and input. If homeowners pick up those red flags that they don’t feel comfortable with, even if the numbers look good, I will support their findings.
I believe having a successful project requires teamwork, trust and collaboration among everyone who is involved in the project. Trust and collaboration are the currency that has been missing in the industry and it needs to be cultivated and brought back in.
I believe if you follow these 5 steps homeowners must do to choose a builder, you’ll be in a good position to have a successful and stress-free home renovation or home-building project.
At Studio M514, it is our passion to help homeowners design and build a future home that meets your current and future changing needs.
Book our Free Clarity Call to discuss your unique home needs.
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