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What to ask your builder

By Emma Ryan 29 June 2020 | 1 minute read

There are 10 things you should ask your builder before the construction of your new home.

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Builder Finders has published a new guide on what home owners should be asking their builders.

The 10 questions (and why) are:

1. ‘How long is the contract price held for and does it meet your time frame? If not, what will the increase in price be?’

“Most builders will offer a fixed price guarantee. It varies from builder to builder with no fixed rule. Naturally, the longer, the better. Expect anywhere from three months to as long as 15 months,” Builder Finders advised.


2. ‘How much compensation does the builder pay if he doesn’t finish on time?’

According to Builder Finders, your contract should have in place compensation for being over time.

“Most reputable builders will offer this,” the group said.

“For example, if you have moved out during the build process, a suggestion is to ensure you are offered compensation, e.g. a rental guarantee of $500 per week. 

“You need to be reasonable with inclement weather, but at the same time be firm with your desires to finish on time. Otherwise, you may be out of pocket.”

3. ‘How do you define what is over time?’

“You want to understand where the end point is of the build. Be clear with the builder of when the start date and finish date is,” Builder Finders said.

“If you have a start date on the 1 January and it’s a six-month build, you know anytime beyond 30 July is over time, taking into account a reasonable period for inclement weather.”

4. ‘How much time do you allocate for inclement weather?’

Builder Finders said that as inclement weather is out of a builder’s control, an allowance is generally factored into every building contract. 

This means the contract completion date can be pushed out by a number of days, it noted.

5. ‘When does the house construction start?’

“Some builders consider the start date as the date you pay the deposit. For others, it’s when they commence work on your property,” Builder Finders explained.

“The builder usually has to start construction within 20 days of obtaining the construction certificate.”

6. ‘As a company, what assurances can you provide clients about the capacity to build the home to the required quality and time frame?’

Some builders won’t have any quality assurance systems; however, good builders will be able to clearly describe how they manage quality, according to Builder Finders.

“Some builders will limit the number of jobs they take on to ensure they are not stretched, while others will use external inspectors through the build to monitor the quality.”

7. ‘How does the builder provide progress updates on the new construction?’

“Some builders will provide a weekly email detailing what they have achieved and where they are up to. Some builders will have this templated in email format,” Builder Finders said.

“Ask them to show you this email format. Others go the trouble of setting up a dedicated client portal with 24-hour camera for you to peruse at will.”

8. ‘Are your contact price and site costs fixed and will there be increases beyond the contract?’

“Can you afford to enter into a contract where you don’t know what the final price will be? Good tenders will have no surprises or additional charges for unforeseen site conditions,” Builder Finders said.

9. ‘Do you have an accredited quality system?’

Builder Finders noted that some builders will use an external company for property inspections to keep quality in check, while others will use formal qualifications to be recognised as master builders. 

“Many of builders bring in external tradespeople, so it’s important to ask about their expertise and quality,” it advised.

10. ‘Describe the business and financial strength of the business.’

It’s important for home owners to be wary of both of these components.

“Looking for awards and accolades such as ‘Best Employer’ is a good indication,” Builder Finders said.

“For other examples of reputation, be forthright in asking them for proof of their professionalism and levels of solvency.”


Property management

Property management is the act of overseeing the daily operations of a residential, commercial, or industrial real estate property, which are usually provided by third-party contractors.

About the author

Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan is the deputy head of content at Momentum Media.

Emma has worked for Momentum Media since 2015, and has since been responsible for breaking some of the biggest stories in corporate Australia, including across the legal, mortgages, real estate and wealth industries. In addition, Emma has launched several additional sub-brands and events, driven by a passion to deliver quality and timely content to audiences through multiple platforms.

Email Emma on: [email protected]Read more

What to ask your builder
What to ask your builder
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