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Top 10 questions you never thought to ask your builder

Posted 4 February 2019

The quality of builder is key to an easy, stress-free, cost-effective building experience. For those who’ve never built before, chances are you have no idea how to judge which builders will perform a dream build, and who will cut more corners than a pair of scissors. 

Building a new home is more than likely the most significant investment you’ll ever make, so it pays to do your research when deciding on the right builder to build your new home.

Here is the Style Studio by Summit's countdown for the Top 10 essential questions you should ask when building a new home.

10. How many new homes are you currently working on?

The number of projects a builder is able to take on, will give you a fair indication of the company’s size, and often their ability. A smaller, boutique builder isn’t necessarily a bad thing (they might give your project their full attention), but a larger building company is likely to be well versed in the process, meaning they have the buying power to keep costs low, and the experience to treat you right. So it pays to ask, how many homes do they build each year and if they can offer you a guaranteed construction timeline?

9. Do you work in the same area I’ll be building?

This is important – if your lot lies outside the builder’s usual roaming area, it may be impractical to send out their trusted team of trades. This may lead them to hiring untested, unreliable sub-contractors and subsequently, a substandard build.

8. Can you show me some of your recently finished projects?

Past customers have been in the position you’re in now – you can learn a lot by asking your builder for some of the addresses of their homes currently under construction. When you do visit, look out for clean, well organised worksites.

7. At what points of construction can I inspect the build?

It’s important your builder involves you in the process, otherwise you could get to the final walk-through and realise there’s a long list of errors that never got picked up. Ideally, your builder should offer you direct access to your building supervisor who will keep you updated with phone calls, emails and photos on the progress of your home.

6. How long have I got for the building maintenance period?

Twelve months after home completion is a pretty standard time, so make sure your builder offers this service around that mark.

5. Who will be supervising my build?

Look into the supervisor’s past experiences and length of employment, as these people are the key to overseeing a high quality build. Ideally, you should have open and honest communication with your site supervisor who will visit the home regularly throughout the build to ensure the highest standard of quality control

4. When is my last chance to make changes and upgrades?

What you definitely don’t want, is to get stung by additional costs by changing your mind mid-build. Find out when the builder’s cut off points are so you can make sure you settle on your design before it’s too late.

3. How long has your company been operating?

Signing up to a builder with little experience is a big no-no! Ask your builder a little bit about their history, how long they have been operating in WA and how many awards they have won to back up their credibility.

Signing up to a builder with poor financial history is a dodgier gamble than backing the Gold Coast Suns to make the finals! You don’t want to risk them to going in the red again and leaving you in the lurch… Eject!

2. Do you have Home Indemnity Insurance?

You insure your iPhone in case you drop it in the toilet. So you better make sure your builder has a Certificate of Currency to cover you in the event something goes pear shaped.

1. Are you a licensed builder of new homes ?

Would you get in the car with an unlicensed 13-year-old taxi driver? Heck no! It might seem like an obvious question, but you’d be surprised at how many home owners forget to ask the sales consultant they are dealing with if the builder is licensed. Some even knowingly sign up with an unlicensed builder to save money! Don’t. Do. It. All it takes is to Google ‘check a builder’s licence’.

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