How to find a builder and the key issues to consider when choosing a builder.
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Hiring the right builder is crucial to the whole building experience. People who have been involved in building or renovating a house typically report that the key factor in making it a happy experience is finding a good builder and subcontractors. What most commonly soured the experience, for people ConsumerBuild talked to, were:
In contrast, people who’d had positive experiences reported that the builders they hired all had the following qualities:
When the tenders come in, don’t automatically choose the cheapest. Use a number of criteria to decide, such as:
Finally, talk to each one and decide if you think you can work with them on a daily basis. You need to be comfortable with them, believe communication channels will be open, and confident they are capable of turning the designs into a high quality/satisfactory house.
If you still can’t decide on which builder to choose, ask an independent person, for example a quantity surveyor, or another builder, to look at all the tenders. Remove the names of the builders and ask the independent person what they think of the quotes and the service being offered. You might have to pay them for this check but it will be a small investment to help you find the right builder.
It may be part of your brief with your designer that they engage the builder and subcontractors. Usually an architect/designer works with a pool of builders (who in turn work with a pool of subcontractors). So the architect/designer will advise you who they usually work with.
If you are going to select the builder yourself, start looking around early. If you see a house you like, ask the owners who built it and if possible talk to them about any problems with construction and what the builder was like to work with.
Ask for recommendations from friends and colleagues, your mortgage manager, the real estate agent and others in the house business. Word soon gets around about who is reliable and who you should avoid. Get a list of names and start a pre-selection list.
Other avenues are websites of builders and building companies, the Register of licensed practitioners, the Yellow Pages and the trade organisations, such as Certified Builders Association of New Zealand or Registered Master Builders Federation.
Group housing companies offer a range of standard designs and usually take care of the entire building process, including in some cases, the landscaping.
If you have chosen to build your home through a group housing company, the builders and subcontractors will often be part of the package. Unless you have objections to any of the people employed or contracted to the company, you won’t need to worry about finding and selecting your builder and subcontractors.
In some cases the company might insist on using their approved builders so that they can be sure the finished product meets their quality standards and therefore protect the company’s reputation. Or because the particular systems used in construction have to be installed by specially trained tradespeople.
Many companies provide project management, guidance and advice. Make use of it and avoid those companies that don’t offer this sort of support.
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