Choosing the right builder
When it comes to choosing a builder to renovate your home there are some important factors to take into consideration before deciding who should be trusted to remodel your home. After all, it’s not just a renovation; it’s thousands of your dollars invested to making your home more functional more beautiful, as well as increasing your overall property value.
We’ve had a few clients tell us lately that other builders have offered to give the client a better price should they choose to pay cash or even say that they don’t need a contract for the works to be undertaken. If you hear either of these statements, proceed with caution.
If a builder offers to do the work for cash, you need to keep in mind that none of the works are going to be covered by warranty. But not only that, if there are any complications, the work is substandard or the builder doesn’t complete the works, you’re probably going to end up paying more in the long run to have any issues rectified – or even redone completely.
Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) requires all builders to complete Domestic Building Contracts for works over $3,300 inc GST. So, if a builder responds to your query of a contract with “Nah, she’ll be right”, politely thank them for the quote, tell them you will look it over and get back to them – which, of course you won’t! Instead, have a look at any other quotes you’ve acquired and hope that they are from a more reputable builder.
A domestic building contract will ensure your builder takes responsibility of the works – not only by providing a warranty on all building works completed, but also by giving you a clear schedule of works and payments as well as a clear outline of expectations of the works to be completed for both parties. Yes it may seem tedious, but we’ve found that going over the works in detail when discussing the scope of works and the contract means that we (the builder) and our clients have a much better understanding on how works will proceed and how to manage any changes or complications. It promotes a much better client/builder relationship.
But not all builders are out to make a quick buck by offering GST-free jobs or avoiding contracts. For the most part, you will probably find yourself comparing quotes between builders who follow QBCC standards. So, let’s say you have three quotes from three different builders. How do you compare them? QBCC has outlined a few things to consider on their website, which include taking note of whether the builders provided the quotes on time, included references or previous work examples and your customer service experience while obtaining the quote.
To add to that, we would recommend looking at the level of detail the quote has included – less detail leaves room for more interpretation of the works, which could lead to misunderstandings in the future should works proceed. And misunderstandings tend to cost money…
And then there’s the obvious one most people look at first, price. Well this can be a tricky one. Cheapest quote does not always mean the best quote. This goes back to the previous point about level of detail. We were fortunate enough to receive a competitor quote from a client after he questioned our higher priced quote compared to our competitor. We sat down together and went through it and instantly found the source of the big discrepancy. Contracts often include Prime Cost (PC) prices for items such as tiles, tapware, baths and toilets for instance (items you, as the owner would like to have a hand in choosing). In our case, our PC amounts are based on our experience with previous jobs and a mid-range standard of goods (unless the client has already outlined otherwise). Our competitor, however, had included minimum standard goods that can be obtained at a much lower cost. Had the client not been aware of this and then chosen more expensive items, he would have received quite a surprise when the bill came in! After comparing the two quotes, he chose to go with us because, although it was a more expensive quote, it was much more realistic.
We encourage you to have a look at tapware, plumbing items and tiles before signing a contract to ensure that the allowances included in your quote are realistic for you and your budget.
We hope that these tips will help you on your way for your next renovation project. Yes, of course we would prefer if you chose us as your next builder, but we also genuinely want you to have a good experience with your remodel.
Even if we’re one of three, give us a call for a free, detailed quote on 0412 679 990 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.
For more information about how we work, see our 7-step process on our website.
QBCC’s website also has a lot of information on the renovating process and what you need to consider.