What to look for when choosing a builder
When it comes to any project, there’s no doubt budget has an important role to play.
However, we at RODA believe price receives unfair overemphasis during the process of selecting a builder. This is probably because it’s the simplest way to compare when you’re presented with a range of options? As a gauge, it’s easy to weigh up whether one contract is more expensive than the other – merely scan down to the bottom line and look at the number.
The problem is that price isn’t actually a great measure of value. One reason why is it can be easy to manipulate. For example, lower the quality of the fit out, or reduce the stated scope of the works, and the overall contract price goes down. It’s a tactic employed by less-scrupulous builders, who will then lean on variations during the course of the construction to pick up extra dollars.
So, if price isn’t the most appropriate measure by which to choose a builder, what is?
Here are the key elements, we believe all clients should look for when selecting their builder.
Excellent communication between builder and client is essential in all facets of the relationship. A builder must be easily contactable to answer any queries their client has.
You need a builder who has an open ear to your opinions – particularly when mid-construction variations are involved. The builder should also respect your concerns and clearly address them, setting out exactly how to achieve a resolution.
Communication is also key when dealing with differences of opinion. Disagreements pop up from time to time during a build, but as long as both parties feel they can have a logical, general discussion and resolve issues amicably, the build can stay on track.
Seek builders who are open and honest about what they do. Builders like this will be able to discuss why certain elements of the building design might lead to increased costs, for example.
They will also happily refer you to past clients who can provide an endorsement of their work ethic and skill.
If there are unexpected problems with some aspect of the build, a transparent builder will let you know of their concerns and how they’re being resolved – not hide any glitches in the hope that you don’t notice.
When it comes to a construction project, great builders let stakeholders know that the buck always stops with them. As captain of the ship, they need to keep the venture on course.
For example, if a subcontractor were unable or unwilling to complete what was agreed, your builder should find a substitute. If there are difficulties with securing particular products, your builder will help source alternatives and present you with the options.
A great builder doesn’t look to divert blame, but instead takes charge and makes plans to rectify any problems.
In addition, builders worth your time will have a reporting process, so you’re fully informed about the progress of your construction. This could be weekly wraps on where the project is up to, as well as when important stages are completed.
Being kept in the loop on the project’s progress relieves anxiety for a client and allows them to forward plan for events such as move-in day.
The most important characteristic of all in a builder is their ability to firstly understand what you are trying to achieve, and then make your goals their motivation.
Seek a builder who is on board with you and treats the relationship as a partnership. As a team, you and your builder will be driven by the idea of ‘collective success’ where the end game is a home you feel fulfils your wish list.
In the end, the satisfaction of a job well done becomes a shared reward, because your builder has been as excited by your vision as you are.
So, the next time you’re presented with several options for potential builders, look beyond the bottom line.
Great builders aren’t always the cheapest to begin with, but at the end of the build you’ll find they were, without doubt, value for money.