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5 Must-Ask Questions Before You Sign The Building Contract

Are you considering a major renovation but are worried about choosing the wrong builder? 

One of the most common hurdles you’ll incur when looking to start your building project is at the very beginning: how to find the right builder. This is by far the most important step in the process as it will determine the quality of craftsmanship, minimise unexpected costs and not to mention, help with the emotional stress that comes with renovating. The last thing you want is your project going way over budget, taking too long, and leaving you with a half finished job and no resources left to finish. Or your home not being ready to live in at the agreed upon date and being forced to look for other living options. The wrong builder may also leave you with dodgy workmanship, resulting in a leaking roof or structural issues, in turn devaluing your home.   

It’s a very common stereotype that all builders are unorganised and that all budgets and timelines go over. But the reality is, it doesn’t have to be that way! You can feel confident and happy with your builder, with no urge to micro manage your project. You can have absolute clarity and know exactly what date you’ll be moving back into your home. Keep reading to find out exactly how you can achieve that.

If you don’t ask, you’ll never know

There are certain aspects of a builder that will speak to your personal style and taste but here are 5 must-ask questions before you sign your building contract:

Are they fully licensed and insured?

It is a huge red flag if a builder fails to provide you with their builders license and insurance, because if they’re not covered, you’re not covered. 

You can use a government register to check the currency and validity of your builder and their license for absolute peace of mind. Be sure to ask for the builder’s license number so that you can check what type of work they are restricted to, and ensure they are properly licensed for your specific project. . Having a contractor perform building work outside the scope of their license  will land you both in some serious trouble. This is one of the most important questions to ask as they are the absolute basic requirements required to build.

Are you a member of a builder’s association?

Being a member of a builders association means that your builder keeps their education regarding industry technology, safety standards and innovations constantly up to date. In an ever evolving industry this shows you that your builder is passionate about their craft and takes every precaution to ensure the best work is achieved. 

Do you abide by current building and safety standards?

If the builder has answered yes to the above two questions, then more than likely, it’s a yes to this question. The builder should have the appropriate safety standards in place to protect both you and their tradesmen on site which includes copies of Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS), Job Safety Analysis (JSA) and Safety Operating Procedures (SOP) for their plant and equipment. They should also build to Australian Standards and manufacturers specifications. To avoid potentially devastating problems, only work with reputable builders, ask for their credentials and any standard documents they are following before you sign. Also, pay attention to the process, if the builder seems dishonest and disorganised or unwilling to communicate and meet your needs, you should reconsider.

Are the inclusions/exclusions clear in the contract?

You’ve received a quote, you like the price, you approve the job – but did you know exactly what that quote did and didn’t include? This is something that is commonly overlooked and you could find yourself coming home to your “completed” project to find a pile of rubbish on your front lawn, the walls in your bathroom unpainted and there’s dust all over your vanity and throughout the bedroom. It’s safe to say that you would be shocked so you decide to look over the contract. You may expect certain things to be included when you receive a quote for a ‘finished bathroom’ but you’d be surprised at all the small details that complete a project. Make sure the builder has clearly stated what the quote includes and excludes, this way, you know exactly what to expect at the completion of the job.

Can we view your recently finished projects?

Talk is cheap – it’s important to see and hear first hand what your builder is promising.  

Ask your builder to look at some of their previous projects – first hand. This will allow you to truly understand  the level of quality and attention to detail that you will get from your potential builder. 

If possible, ask to speak to some of the builder’s past clients, there’s no better reference than words from someone who has experienced the builder first-hand. 

This will be the ultimate test for your builder 

It’s one thing for a builder to have a good relationship with their client before and during the project. But to maintain strong relationships well after construction has finished is a very strong sign that you are dealing with a professional builder. 

It’s one thing to know the right questions to ask before signing a contract but there is one other mistake that 80% of people make that cost them thousands of dollars when designing a custom home addition. 

Click here to download our free guide that could save you thousands of dollars during the design process. 

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