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Do I Need A Builder For My Project?

Are you wanting to make some improvements to your home but are unsure who to call? You have all the ideas and are ready to get a professional involved, but with so many trades and specialists out there, how do you know what type of professional is needed for your job? Who should you be calling? A carpenter? A plumber? A builder? A maintenance person?

You may feel at risk of sounding silly, asking the wrong questions, or even end up feeling like you’re just going around in circles, contacting different businesses but not getting anywhere. Not knowing what specialist you need for your job can leave you stuck in apathy, with no progress being made and your dream project never coming to life.

Not knowing who to call can also lead to you hiring someone who isn’t properly licensed or insured to do the work. They may be more than willing to take on your project but not actually  have the required experience. As you can imagine, this can lead to all sorts of nightmare scenarios. So how can we make sure we find the right person?

Use Specific Words When Googling

Most of the time, the first thing people will do when looking for someone to manage their project is ask their friends & family or Google it. If you’re going straight to Google, be sure to search using keywords relevant to your project, i.e. ‘outdoor entertainment specialists Adelaide’ or ‘kitchen renovation *insert your suburb*’. Whoever’s website you click on, take note of their ‘About Us’ page, do they align with the type of service you want? Can you view their past projects and does it seem like they specialise in the type of work you want done? 

We recommend finding a few different builders that resonate with you emotionally and then ‘interviewing’ them over a phone call. A professional builder should take you through their own qualifying process but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions yourself. Don’t be afraid to include “Is *my project* something you specialise in?” or “Have you completed many projects similar to this and can I view them?”. If you’re lost for words, here’s a starting list of questions you can follow to find out if they’re the right fit for you. 

If your chosen builder can answer these questions confidently and efficiently then that’s a big green flag, which is great! But what are some red flags to watch out for before wasting your time on a builder that is insufficient?

Building Everything for Everyone = Building Nothing For No-one

Unfortunately, one builder or trade simply can’t do everything for everyone. And those who try, struggle to provide their clients with a quality experience and outcome. It’s a common myth that the only way for a builder to stay busy is to say yes to everyone, a builder who has found their niche can be more efficient and increase their team’s capacity. Taking on too many different styles of projects means there won’t be any processes and systems in place to ensure these projects go to plan; timelines will go astray and promises won’t be delivered.

A builder who does everything for everyone should be taken as a red flag. Saying yes to every job that comes their way means that they’ll end up taking on way too much for their team to handle and the experience for the consumer will become turbulent and messy.

But how do you pick the right trade or decide on if you need a builder?

Tasks are for trades – Projects are for builders

Generally speaking, if one trade can complete all tasks, you can contact that particular trade. If your project requires multiple tasks that need to be completed by multiple different trades and coordinated in the right order, it’s best to call a builder. 

For example, your tasks might be a pergola and deck. A carpenter can do both of these tasks for you so a builder is not required. But if you want an amazing outdoor entertaining space which needs a deck, pergola, lighting, outdoor kitchen, and a new door to access it from the house, this is where a builder is better suited. Much like if all you want is your fixtures and fittings changed in your bathroom, a plumber is all that’s needed. If you need tiling and grout repaired, call a tiler or if you want all of your doors and windows replaced, a carpenter will again, suffice. 

By contrast, if you need to remove a load bearing wall, this requires disconnections to power (electrician), structural changes in the roof (engineering and carpentry), demolition of the wall (demolition contractor), repairs to the floors and ceilings (ceiling fixer and carpenter) and painting (painter), then this is a meticulous project that requires planning and coordinating by a professional. Call a builder! 

If you want to replace all of your kitchen cabinets, call a cabinet maker, however, if you want to completely gut and replace your entire kitchen, this requires a level of competence from someone to manage the trades in the right order, call a builder.

The Golden Rule

An almost foolproof rule of thumb to determine if you need a builder or not is, if your project requires council approval and is over $12,000 in cost, you will almost always need a builder. 

As a boutique builder, we at ZJ Building have refined all of our processes and systems for specialty jobs. This ensures a smooth and easy process with guaranteed outcomes. If you’re still unsure if we’re the right fit for your project, check out what we specialise in or give us a call, we are always happy to help and can provide references for specialists best suited to your project!

If you’re interested in working with ZJ Building for your renovation, extension or new home, download our free ZJ Building Design Guide for great design inspiration, 2022 budget expectations and more!

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