How to Find A Builder for A New Home?

Building a home can be a monumental undertaking. From design to final handover, there are many stages that each involve multiple tasks. One of the most crucial steps involves choosing the right builder. While there are many home builders in WA to choose from, not all are made equal. Finding a reputable and experienced home builder is not always easy.

This is perhaps the most important professional you will engage in building your dream home and you need to be careful in your vetting to ensure it is someone with the right skills you can rely on. Here we will look at the key factors you need to consider and how to narrow down to a top choice that best fits your project. 

Find recommendations

Start by seeking recommendations from people you know and trust. Talk to family and friends who have had to engage builders in the recent past. More so, those that have had projects near where your build site will be. This familiarity may help in securing permits and approvals, and knowledge of local regulations. Word-of-mouth recommendations are great as they provide an opportunity to ask questions on everything from their attitude to credentials. 

You can even approach builds that seem more high-end than your own. Many builders actually undertake projects of different sizes and will not mind being asked to undertake a smaller project, especially if they already have experience with such. 

You can also look up industry associations or talk to your lender to find out what builders have a strong reputation with similar projects. An online search may also provide you with some local options you had not considered. However, do not be swayed by just a good website and an impressive online portfolio. 

Look at credentials

When you have a good selection of builders to consider, look into their qualifications for the job. This means asking about their professional background, work experience, and business stability. They should be able to provide a summary of their experience and professional references. 

They should be able to communicate clearly and confidently, be understanding and patient with your queries, and also show a keen interest in your project to determine if it is something they can undertake or possibly refer you to someone better qualified. 

To check the credentials of a prospective builder, look them up at Master Builders Australia or the Housing Industry Association. Being registered and in good standing assures you the builder has been upholding the code of ethics required of members. 

Review their portfolio

Some builders will detail their portfolio of work on a business website. This can be an easy way to determine if they are experienced at handling the kind of home design you want to undertake. With volume builders, carrying out such a review is easy as you just have to visit their more recent builds at the development, some of which may exactly match what you intend for your home. 

With custom builds, there may however be some divergence, so you should mainly focus on key features and size of the build as a guide. Those with more experience may however have previously undertaken a closely similar project before. 

Many document their Display Home projects in good detail using photography and video. They may even have developed virtual tours that allow you to navigate through the home to get a good view of their work. 

Ask for a quote

Once you have narrowed it down to builders that come as close to your ideal choice as possible, ask them for a quote. 

The quote needs to be detailed with the description of work, itemisation and pricing. It should also include specifications as to labour, materials and products, their prices and allowances, deposit amounts and payment milestones. 

If you are working with a volume builder, note that the pricing is typically not very flexible here. Volume builders have already streamlined their processes to ensure the best value for money for their clients. To be assured you are getting a fair deal, simply request a quote from different builders and you will get a clearer idea of what the optimal price is. 

Many prospective homeowners will use quotes as a guide for establishing how much they need to borrow for a home or construction loan.. 

Insurance and warranties

As part of the tendering process, do look into the kind of warranties for work done the builders are offering. This should be part of the documentation that will be provided during the final handover and it is good to ensure they meet industry standards. 

Also, check on what kind of insurance the builder has. Home builder’s liability insurance is designed to protect the homeowner’s assets from any problems that may arise during construction, including injuries to workmen while on the building site. 

It will also protect you in case there is substandard work done or if the builder is unable to complete the project for whatever reason. Ensure the builder details the level of coverage and scope of their insurance and warranty for your peace of mind and security. 

Gauge your engagement

A new building project will be, for most people, one of the most expensive investment they undertake. Given the cost and duration of this association, you need to ensure the person into whose hands you are entrusting the project is someone you can trust and get along with. 

The rapport you establish right from the start will help determine if this relationship will work out. It is not just the builder that matters, but also other key players that they will appoint that you may also have to have interactions with, like the site supervisor. How well you can communicate with these people will affect your build experience. Consider how well you have been interacting with the builders on your list to identify those you feel most comfortable with. 

Settling the Contract

Once you have made your choice of builder, you will then need to enter into a contract with them 

Ensure it is as comprehensive as possible as whatever is not put down on paper may not happen as you hoped. If you are satisfied with the terms, you can then go ahead to sign the contract and move forward with the building project.  

14 Jul, 2022