essential questions

Essential questions you should ask your Builder

Build it the way you want it!

Building your home is one of the largest investments you will ever have to make, so it is important that prior to signing any contracts that you understand who you are dealing with, and what you are getting. Below are a list of very important questions that should be the bare minimum you ask prior to signing any contracts.

  • Does the builder hold the licence or does he use someone else’s?

    It is a good idea to see a copy of the licence as early as possible. If the builder does not have one ask whose license does he use?

  • Does your builder have a building trade background?

    Not all builders have a building trade background.

  • Will all essential components be included?

    Including Clothes lines, Gas connections, Telstra connection, TV areal, Drafting costs, Council fees, Paths, Full driveways, Wardrobe fitout, Blinds, Carpet, Sarking, Appropriate Insulation etc

  • Will it be clear what is included?

    Quotes should include a clear outline of all inclusions and exclusions for the build. If it is unclear, is there an explanation as to why? Eg no soil test yet, block unseen

  • How long has the company been trading for?

    In that time have there been any Department of Fair trading complaints?

  • Does the company use local subbies and suppliers?

    This way the subbie that does the work will be able to warrant the job and the money stays local.

  • Does the company employ their own carpenters?

    Carpenters that are employed by a company get paid by the hour not by the job so generally more care is taken with your home.

  • What is the company’s policy on site visits?

    It is important to be able to keep an eye on your home as well as the builder. 2 eyes are better then 1.

  • At what stage can I move in?

    Some builders won’t let you move in until the final bill has been paid. This may not be your fault for example the bank may want a final inspection prior to the release of the final payment.

  • What is the process of getting things fixed if there are any defects and who will fix them?

    Generally there is a 13 week maintenance period. Most local builders will still fix minor things after that as they have a reputation to withhold.

  • Does the builder have adequate Home Warranty Insurance?

    If not this could delay the commencement of your home or worst still you may not have enough cover in the event of a claim.

  • Is there any cost prior to the contract being signed?

    There should be no upfront costs. It is a good idea though to make sure that you have a soil test prior to seeing any builders. In new subdivisions in town these should be available at no cost. Rural areas you will need to obtain these yourself. Under the Home Building Act no money (including the deposit) should exchange hands without a certificate of Home Warranty insurance.

  • What is the process for variations and what penalties will be charged if changes are made?

    The variation profit should be disclosed up front

  • Who covers the warranty if I supply any materials or services in the home?

    Generally if you supply it you are responsibly for it.

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