focus on a sincere and quality partnership
Find a builder that you can create a partnership with
The very first consideration should always be to focus on a sincere and quality partnership. We all want to work with people we like, so your top priority should be a building company that you’re going to build a lasting, positive working relationship with. Particularly when you renovate, as it's likely to be an on-going exercise with every home you own. It's important to engage someone who is like minded, shares your values and can offer advice that is easy to understand.
Ensure your builder is qualified, licensed and has relevant experience
A renovation requires the right knowledge and expertise to be able to transform an existing space. There’s a big difference between the complexities of renovations vs. building new, so be cautious about engaging someone who knows what they are getting into. It’s important that the advice they provide is based on real life experience, and lots of it. When choosing a builder it’s important to consider their credibility and experience. It should come without saying you invest time into ensuring your building professional has a current qualification in their field of expertise, is licensed and/or registered and can provide references to prove experience.
Consider if your builder can project manage everything for you
One of the most common priorities that is overlooked when choosing a builder, is managerial and operational skills and experience. Kiwi’s love supporting the little guy, but any build project is weighted with complexities. Are you going to be supplied with a service that provides project management, administration support, subcontractor and supplier management, and of course third party collaboration? For example, your project is likely to need an Architect and/or engineers, and a collaborative working relationship with them and your builder can really ease the burden of project preparation and execution. Be sure to confirm the services your building partner can provide under contract, and who will pick up the gaps to ensure you don’t end up carrying the weight of those missing pieces.
Ask your builder if they can provide detailed and transparent pricing
What about the price? Now it's not obvious for most people that pricing a build project can be done in a few different ways. Is your price an estimate or fixed quote? Does it include a complete offering or just a portion of the build? Let us break it down for you:
- Fixed price terms don’t always mean the contract price is what you’ll pay. Especially with a renovation there is a likelihood you’ll experience variations and will need to follow a diligent contractual process during any updates to pricing.
- Estimates may only be a fair and reasonable guess of what cost may be, but can provide flexibility during the project. Estimates should include the same level of information a fixed term quote does so you have transparency of what is included and what isn’t.
- And be sure to check any exclusions. If you’ve received a price under any terms you’d assume it includes all required works, and if it doesn’t, those missing pieces should be highlighted in exclusions.
Review your building contract including guarantees, and handover information
Finally, what about contracts, guarantees and what to expect at the end result? There’s a mile of legality to consider when renovating your home, kitchen or bathroom, and a quality building partner should advise and support all those details. You should consider insurance cover, contractual information, and the project methodology. Also ensure you know who the allocated supervisors and managers are, and of course what you receive when your project is complete. You should receive a detailed handover package confirming warranties, guarantees and compliance documentation. Working with registered members of an organisation like Master Builders really helps with confirming these details.
Yup, we know it ain’t easy to pick the right builder, but at least know if you choose the right partner you will have the right support throughout. A renovation is a big yet exciting undertaking for all parties and there are a wealth of complexities. Be ok with the fact that something will not go to plan, and you could experience the unexpected. And most important of all, keep an open mind and a positive approach to the process so it can at least be as stress free as possible.