10 Questions to ask before hiring a builder
BE your first, second or investment, building a home is stressful enough, without having to worry about cowboy builders ruining your experience. A few simple questions before you hire someone could save you a lot of heartache.
A good builder takes away a lot of frustration. We’ve all heard the terrible stories about dodgy builders who skip corners, shirk responsibility and are generally a pain to deal with.
But if you’ve never dealt with a builder before, how do you know where to start? Get the job done right the first time and help identify a potential disastrous build by asking the following 10 questions and locking in a quality reliable builder.
- Are you a licensed builder?
This is the first question you need to ask. It may seem like an obvious point to reinforce but people either don’t ask or go with an unlicensed builder to save money. The results can be disastrous. Each state allows you to run a search on builders to check their licence, a simple Google search for ‘check a builder’s licence’ will get you started. Only ever work with licensed tradesmen.
- Do you have Home Indemnity Insurance?
You need to make sure your builder issues you a Certificate of Currency for Home Indemnity Insurance before you pay them anything. This covers you for financial loss should the builder die, become insolvent or do a runner.
- Are there any current or past building disputes underway with the relevant building commission in your state?
This will let you know about the builder’s general reliability and professionalism as well as the overall quality of their work.
- Have you ever been declared bankrupt?
If your builder went belly-up at some point it may mean a quick eject button. A bankrupt company may pull the plug without warning leaving you stuck with a half built house and searching for a builder willing to complete the job.
- Do you work in the same area I’ll be building?
It seems simple, yet many people don’t ask this question. Your builder may not be interested in building with travel involved. The builder may also have to hire sub-contractors he’s not familiar with and these people may not be up to standard.
- How long will the building maintenance period last?
A builder agrees to perform building maintenance for a period of time after the property is handed over to you. Most offer a six month maintenance period for residential properties.
- Who supervises the property construction?
This is important because the construction supervisor is the guy who keeps everyone honest. When a supervisor is onsite, higher quality work is performed. Look into this person’s track record including their past experiences and duration at current employer.
- What about your trade base and its long-term employment?
A consistent and reliable trade base is essential to ensuring the job will be high quality.
- Can we view your recently finished projects?
This is absolutely a no-brainer. You must be able to look at the builders’ recently completed work. This way you can see for yourself what standard the builder is producing. Check out the quality of products used and the work completed. If possible, speak to the builders’ clients and get references. This way you can get feedback about customer experience and satisfaction. You may be surprised at how willing people are to share their personal experiences.
- What other projects will you be involved with while working on my house?
You don’t want the builder to be biting off more than they can chew. The more they can concentrate on your job, the fewer mistakes they will make and not to mention your project will be done faster.
Most important of all…
Remember, building a new home is a huge financial and emotional investment. Be sure you that the extra time to do a thorough check on any prospective builder, their workmanship, references and credentials.