Find a builder

Four steps to help you find a builder - plus recommendations

Angela Elliss

B. Sc. (Architecture)

Four easy steps to help you find the best builder

Choosing the right builder for your renovation or new build can seem overwhelming, “Where do I start?” is a common thought. If you don't use builders on a regular basis you need to be armed with as much information as possible so you're able choose the right builder for your particular job. Outlined below are 4 easy steps to ensure this process goes as smoothly as possible.

Word of mouth

 

A word of month recommendation cannot be underestimated or under scrutinised. Ask friends, family and work colleagues if they can recommend a "good" builder, and ask them why they recommend them. You'd be surprised how many people provide a builder recommendation without actually having a firsthand experience with that builder.

You'll know when you're receiving a good recommendation when the:

  • Same builders name keeps coming up in unrelated groups of friends

  • Person recommending has actually used the builder directly & can confirm they did a good job

  • Recommendation also mentions that the builder and their tradespeople were professional & well managed

  • Person recommending says they would engage the builder on future jobs

Talk with previous clients

 

Ask your potential builder for client references and ask them if you could take a look at their work. If a builder is good they will have no hesitation in recommending past clients & designers that you can chat with. Call these referees and chat with them about the builders level of communication; ie. with respect to:

  • Being able to get the builder on the phone easily

  • The builder answering emails and text messages in a timely fashion

  • The builder communicating regularly with what was happening on the job

Ask your architect or building designer

 

Architects, building designers and drafts people tend to use a small group of builders over and over again, and for good reason. If you're having plans drawn for a CDC (Complying Development Certifcate) or DA (Development Approval) ask your designer whom they recommend to build your project. They will only recommend builders they trust because designers like to ensure a good relationship with their client is retained on their current job and future jobs.

A good quote

 

This is the least important item on the list. I know your’e probably thinking, "How can you say that!" Well, budgets are very important but the relationship with your builder is much more important. If you've ever had an unfortunate builder experience you will know this all too well.

Don't choose a builder purely based on the cost of the quote being cheap, and always ensure the builders quoting on your job are quoting on exactly the same items.

At Angela Elliss Design we recommend that you meet with three builders "before" the plans are prepared. Get to know these builders and the types of projects they have worked on. Understand the general costs of these projects, the quality of finishes and the similarities (or not) to your anticipated project outcome. Then choose a builder to work with starting at this early stage so they can "nut-out" the cost savings during the early stages of design. You will save money and sleep better using this method.

If you want to get some kind of a guide on costs and budgets in the early stages we recommend using this construction cost estimator.

Engaging a builder for a new modern home or renovation can be a daunting experience. You need to feel reassured you are making the right choice. By following the 4 tips above you will start the building process in a stronger position, knowing you have done the research and have chosen the right builder for you and your construction project.

Recommended builders

Les Smith Pty Ltd

 

Builders of quality homes, houses, villas, townhouses and dual occupancy on the Central Coast, NSW, Australia.

With over 30 years of experience Les and his team are great communicators (e.g. they will call you and keep you up to date on progress) who have built over 100 homes.

Les Smith's mobile: 0414 437 448.

Email: lessmith56@yahoo.com.au

Les Smith 0414 437 448 (Central Coast, NSW)

Tips about cost

The bigger the house, the lower the /m2 rate.

The smaller the house, the higher the /m2 rate.

Interesting fact

Clients typically overestimate what they can afford to build by about 50%.

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Angela Elliss (B.Sc. Architecture).

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