5 questions to ask when choosing a builder

laorence nohra tnFinding the right builder for your renovation or build is one of the most important decisions you need to make, especially when large sums of money are involved.

Blogger: Laorence Nohra, Tradebusters

Getting it wrong, can be costly to you in terms of time, quality comprise, and significant financial blow-outs.

A good reputable builder actually wants to help you take away the stress and risk that is often involved in building. They will work in partnership with you to achieve the results you desire on time and within budget.

So how do you find one of these builders?
Taking the time upfront to ask the right questions can really be the difference between a positive building and renovation experience or a costly disaster.

Here are five questions to ask when trying to find the right builder partner for your project:

1. Do you have a licence?
It is your responsibility to ensure that any builder carrying out work on your property holds a licence. This offers your better consumer protection should things go wrong.

2. How long have you been operating your business?
Obviously the longer the better. Be wary of a business with a new ABN number. It could indicate the builder has closed previous businesses due to problems or bankruptcy. 

3. Are you properly insured?
Public liability insurance is an absolute must. This protects you, your neighbours or anyone on your property should an injury occur during the project as well as property damage, should the builder be at fault. If a builder plans to sub-contact any part of the work, you should confirm if their insurance cover subcontractors or if they will have their own.

Home Warranty insurance must be provided if the contract for works exceeds a certain amount. In NSW for example, it is $20,000 (note, it varies state by state). This covers loss caused by defective or incomplete work in the event of the death, disappearance or insolvency of the builder within six years from the date of practical completion. Check your state authority sites for more information on applicable values and requirements.

4. What types of building works do you “specialise” in?
Do not accept “everything” as an answer! Each builder has different areas of speciality. It may be in new home constructions, mini extensions, second level additions, bathroom renovations, building remediation works etc. It is important to establish the builder has the right expertise and experience for your particular type of project.

5. Can I see examples of your recent jobs?
We highly encourage this for large projects. Any reputable builder will be more than happy to share with you recent customer jobs and allow you to meet them. So don’t be afraid to ask. Interview their previous clients about the building experience and quality of work. Understand if there were any significant cost surprises and how the builder handled issues that arose throughout the project.

Ultimately you want to know, “would you recommend this builder to me?”

About Laorence Nohra
laorence nohra

From the jet setting corporate world of accounting and finance, Laorence Nohra is the CEO of Tradebusters, one of Australia’s first personalised tradesmen service providers.

Based on the principal that the best way to find good tradespeople is through a quality ‘referral’,  Tradebusters aims to help homeowners take away the time, guesswork and risk of sourcing good tradespeople.

As an outsourcing and operational efficiency expert, who has held a number of international posts with global corporations establishing shared service centres across the world, Laorence now works actively with homeowners, real estate agencies and trade businesses across Australia to unlock and realise the benefits of effective outsourcing.

Tradebusters has been featured in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Daily Telegraph as well as various online, local and industry related publications.

“Tradebusters is Tradeblogging” is aimed at sharing with you real life experiences so that any home improvement or renovation job, whether it is big or small is stress-free, positive and rewarding. That’s all part of Tradebusters difference!


5 questions to ask when choosing a builder
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