How to find a builder, and the key issues to consider when choosing a builder

02 Aug 2014

What to look for

Your whole building experience hinges on finding the right builder, figure out what is important, do your research and take your time when finding a good builder and subcontractors. Common complaints from people building a new house or renovating a house are:

• Inferior workmanship

• Contractors not sticking to appointed times

• Lack of communication about issues that arise

• Complaints being ignored and problems not being fixed

• Phone calls being ignored and not returning the calls

• Delays and budget blow outs

However when you find a good builder you have positive experiences like:

• High level of skill

• Honesty, Integrity and responsibility

• Knowledge and experience of the house building industry

• A professional relationship with a personality you can get on with

• Patience

• Appreciation for your goals and budget

Builder selection criteria

Once you have received your quotes for building a new home, don’t automatically choose the cheapest, there are other factors that are equally as important. You need to consider the following when selecting a builder:

• Price – if the quote is much higher or lower than the others you need to question why. Sometimes a builder will put in a low quote on the initial bid just to win the job, however this usually means cutting corners or relying on expensive variation throughout the build to make up the pay. Pay a fair price for the job and you will get what you pay for.

• Previous work – request a reference from them, talk to somebody that has built a new home with them and look at examples of their work.

• Their trade organisation affiliations – find out if they are backed up by a guarantee like Certified Builders Association (CBANZ) or Registered Master Builders Federation (RMBF)

• What are their qualifications – ask them for their qualifications

• Are they licensed – check the register of licensed practitioners to make sure they are listed. Only builders that meet the government backed national standards are part of this select group.

• Their Guarantee – what guarantee is offered and what is covered

You also need to speak with each builder and make sure you can build a relationship that allows you to work with them on a daily basis. You need to be comfortable with them and the communication between the builder and yourself with be open and honest. They need to understand what you are trying to achieve and turn that dream into a quality new home.

Get an independent opinion

If you are having problems deciding or want an independent opinion there are plenty of professional people out there that you can ask. For example a quantity surveyor or other builders are a good option, they are able to look at the quotes from an independent perspective, remove the names of the builders, and see what they think of what is being offered. Even if you have to pay somebody to do this, its worth the small investment to find a good builder.

Where do you find a good builder

Sometimes your designer or architect will have specific builders and subcontractors they work with. However you can select the builder yourself, do your research and start looking early. Look at new home builds that you like, talk to the owners and find out who built them, how the build went, if there were any problems with the construction and what the builder was like to work with.

New Zealand is a small place so people usually know someone or of someone they can recommend, ask friends, colleagues, your mortgage manager, real estate agents and other people involve in the house business. People generally know who is reliable and who to avoid. Start a list of possible builders to help with pre-selection.

Another option to finding a good builder is through building companies websites, the Register of licensed practitioners, trade organisations such as Certified Builders Association of New Zealand or Registered Master Builders Federation.

Security and standards of housing company builders

Group housing companies like Competitive Homes offer a range of designs and will take care of the entire building process.

Choosing to build a new home with Competitive Homes the builder and subcontractros are all part of the package. This removes all the uncertainty and stress of accessing the subcontractors and their skills. They already have a relationship with Competitive Homes and are skilled, trusted, reliable and qualified tradespeople.

Building a new home with Competitive Homes ensure the finished product meets their high quality of standards as they insist on protecting their reputation via the product they produce.

Competitive Homes will provide project management, guidance and advice, make use of this. Building a new home with Competitive Homes takes away the worry of finding a good builder. Their reputation speaks for itself.


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