What does the “right” builder look like? How do you choose a builder that has the best qualifications, skills and personality for the role. It might sound strange to mention personality, but communication styles, courtesy and mutual respect are key. You’re not just building a home - you’re also building a relationship that will last for the duration of the build.
Do they have the right licenses, insurance and qualifications?
Your first step in due diligence is to check that the builder is licensed, because there are still some shady operators around that aren’t. A reputable builder will be transparent with their licensing details, certification and accreditations. If you want to check their registration, you can also contact the Housing Industry of Australia or the Master Builders of Australia.
Other questions to ask include whether they are insured, and whether your home comes with a warranty. At the bare minimum your builder needs to have public liability insurance and home warranty insurance (known as domestic building insurance in Victoria). It takes time, but to avoid future heartbreak it’s also essential to know the terms and conditions before committing.
Is the pricing structure transparent and easy to understand?
You shouldn’t need to have an advanced degree in mathematics to understand the costs involved with your build. Reputable builders will have an open and transparent pricing structure that makes it very clear what is included in the cost and what isn’t. It’s easy to get stung by hidden costs and added extras if all the costs and inclusions aren’t made clear upfront.
When comparing quotes from Bendigo builders, it’s important to compare “apples with apples”. Quotes can vary due to the different grades of materials being used, or because of certain inclusions or exclusions. When choosing between quotes it’s important to make sure that all the important items are included, ensuring that there are no nasty surprises as the build progresses.
Does their work meet a consistently high standard?
Make the time to visit display homes, and take a really close look at the quality of the build. Paying attention to the details, you’ll take notes and take photos of the quality of the workmanship, keeping an eye out for how flush the brickwork is, how well made the cabinetry is and whether the materials feel cheap or high quality. You can also ask about upgrades.
Check out the paint finishes throughout the house and check the tiling in showers, laundries and kitchens - they should all have been completed by professionals. Reputable builders will also have testimonials and reviews from previous clients that they can share with you. This will provide good feedback about the quality of the build and the efficiency of the entire process.
Will they work with you to customise floor plans and designs?
A good builder will be more than happy to collaborate with you on customising the build to suit your wants and needs. Reputable builders have the experience required to make changes to the design or the floorplan, and can advise you on whether the design is the optimal orientation for your block. It’s also worth asking if the design can be flipped or rotated.
A good builder will understand that this is one of the biggest investments you will ever make, and be happy to engage with you on changes to the design in order to deliver your dream home. If you’re talking to a builder that takes a cookie-cutter approach to construction or is reluctant to work with you on customisation, it’s time to look for another Bendigo builder.
Do they have what it takes to build a solid working relationship?
A good builder will always make you feel like you and your project are a priority. A good way to gauge how well they treat their clients - or prospective clients - take note of how long it takes for them to respond to your emails or phone messages. If they are overbooked or don’t prioritise communication their responses to you will be lacklustre or delayed - avoid these builders.
Building a home is a long term prospect, and it’s a collaborative endeavour that requires trust, mutual respect, courtesy and good communication. Good builders will welcome your questions and be willing to educate you. Their responses to you will come within a reasonable amount of time, and will always be addressed to you with professionalism and respect.
Finding the Bendigo builder that’s right for you
Good luck with your search! Finding the right builder that you like and trust - and who respects your creative vision - is key to making the process of building your dream home as enjoyable and stress free as possible.