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How Do You Know if a Builder Is Good?


When deciding to renovate or build your home, it’s essential to find the right builder who not only does the job well, meets your needs and works within your budget, but has an understanding of your goals as a homeowner.

However, you may have heard of nightmare stories of home builders who miss the point entirely. They cut corners, don’t communicate well (or at all), provide misleading information and sometimes leave homeowners with a very costly mess to fix up.

Deciding to renovate or build is a big decision to make and requires a lot of trust from both builders and clients to work together to achieve the right result.

So how do you know if a builder is good or not? In this article, we’re going to look at three ways to spot a red flag when looking around for a builder so that you can make an informed choice before signing on the dotted line.

At B&S Nelson, we are building and home renovation experts in Forster/Tuncurry. Our understanding of home building/home renovation is unparalleled, and you can have peace of mind that when choosing us as your builder, you are at the centre of what we do.

1. Contracts

Before diving headfirst into a big decision of any kind, most people typically want to know what they are getting into before committing to something. When building or renovating your home, ensuring you have a contract from the builder should be no different – especially when the nature of house renovating, and home building is such a large commitment.

If your builder seems to be unclear or avoiding the topic of building contracts with you, then you’ve spotted your first red flag. You should not consider committing to any builder who doesn’t provide you with a contract or the one they have provided doesn’t feel right or make sense. When reading through a contract, some things to consider as red flags are:

  • Vague or misleading wording
  • Items missing or included, but not discussed with the client
  • The contract price and the quoted price do not add up

If you feel something might not be right with your contract, it pays to research what to look out for so that it is above board. When doing your homework around building contracts, make sure these points are covered:

  • Plans and specifications
  • A detailed description of the works
  • The deposit amount and specific details about terms of progress payments and amounts
  • Details on builder’s insurance
  • Precise details on fittings and fixtures (right down to the make and model of appliances)
  • Specified responsibility for the supply of specific items and materials
  • Provisional items – if any costs are yet to be agreed on as they may be subject to change and should be included under provisional items

If you’re still in doubt, it pays to seek professional legal advice to be sure there are no surprises before you sign your contract.

2. Building permits

You might think that all builders know what they are doing when obtaining the correct building permits, but you would be wrong. Some builders like to cut corners in meeting legislative requirements, which may come back to bite you later. If a builder isn’t aware of the requirements for obtaining a building permit in your area or they can’t provide you with estimates for building and planning permits, this is another red flag.

You should always ensure your home builder knows every aspect of the building process – including building and planning permits. Without the necessary permits, your home renovation or building does not comply with planning and building regulations. You will therefore be required to do a lot more work later down the track compared to choosing a reputable builder upfront who does all of this in advance and is transparent with their clients about the process.

The take-home here is to check your builder has obtained all of the required council and building permits relevant for home building in your area. If they can’t provide you with this information when you are shopping around, then go to a home builder who can.

3. Professionalism

When you embark on a home build or home renovation, you’re making a huge financial and time commitment, so it’s natural to want to follow up regularly on your building works with your builder. If you are having trouble reaching them, or they are simply not returning your calls in a reasonable timeframe, then this spells trouble.

An unprofessional home builder is the most important thing to look out for because if they are not communicating or managing client expectations throughout the process, then it means they are not doing their job well.

A professional home builder should understand the needs of their clients and know how to communicate so that homeowners can walk into these types of decisions feeling confident their interests are front of mind and that the result will be exactly what they had hoped.

If your home builder pays strict attention to being professional and is diligent and courteous, you’ve likely found the right builder for you. It’s important to do your homework before you make these decisions so you can spot these three red flags a mile away.  After all, choosing a builder requires a balance of arming yourself with the right information upfront by doing your research and ensuring the relationship is the right mix for you when searching for the right people to build or renovate your home.

Ready to find your builder?

If you’re ready to build or renovate in coastal New South Wales, contact a builder with over 30 years of experience. Our end-to-end knowledge of the building and renovation is unparalleled, and our client feedback speaks for itself.

Phone the expert home renovation designers and builders here at B&S Nelson today at (02) 6555 3484, or fill in an online contact form, and one of our consultants can contact you at a prefered time.