7 Costly Mistakes: 3

Posted on July 4th, 2019

3. Not Getting to Know Your Builder

People choose their builders in a variety of ways. It may be that you’ve seen a newspaper ad. You may have visited a display home and liked what you saw, or a colleague at work may have recommended one to you.

In my opinion, there is no correlation between how you find your builder and the success of your build. I have found, however, there is a direct relationship with how well you know your builder. By this, I don’t mean you need to know your builders birthday, shoe size, or favourite movie.

So what do you need to know about your builder? The most obvious thing is: what is their relevant experience? Relevant being the key. Most builders are pretty versatile but builders with experience in the same field of work you need done are likely to be more efficient with their time and be more organised.

Experience doesn’t always mean quality workmanship, so it’s always a good idea to see examples of relevant work so you can assess the quality and workmanship for yourself. Workmanship, however, is more than skin deep. Good workmanship starts at the foundations and works its way throughout the house. I have seen homes that look pristine when they are first finished only to have issues manifest within six months because the basics weren’t done right.

To get a good idea of the builder’s workmanship, ask them for four examples of their work and then view two of them. They don’t have to be recent examples. The older the better as that will show you if the workmanship has stood the test of time.

Without a doubt, a good professional relationship between owner and builder is a major factor in ensuring a project’s success.

Of course, what you will have seen examples of are historic works. How does the builder ensure that you will have the same quality? Does the builder have a system for ensuring quality or do they rely on council inspections? Is there a dedicated person responsible for quality control? Does the builder use a quality control checklist?

Now, consider how long your building project will take. They don’t happen overnight so ask yourself if you can work with this builder for as long as the build might take. Without a doubt, a good professional relationship between owner and builder is a major factor in ensuring a project’s success.

Feel free to discuss with the builder how they will work with you during the build and see if that matches your expectations. For example, some builders do not allow clients on-site at all during the build. This policy is great if you intend to go on holiday for the entire length of the build but not so good if you’re excited and looking forward to seeing your new home coming together. When you view examples of the builder’s work there is a good chance that you will meet the owners of these builds. They will be able to give you an insight into how they found the building process and how they interacted with the builder.

Nothing comes for free, so no doubt you will be paying your builder. Depending on the size of your project, you could be paying hundreds of thousands of dollars. You are trusting your builder to manage your money and pass on payments to suppliers and subcontractors.

You absolutely need to know that your progress payments are being well managed, especially if your builder is working on multiple projects. Consider, for example, a company that is running five projects at a time. If each owner pays a monthly progress payment of $50,000 that’s a cool quarter of a million that will be sitting in the builder’s bank account. While this makes the builder’s account look great the fact is that this money belongs to the builder’s suppliers and subcontractors. It is reasonable to expect that the builder should have a robust accounting system to ensure everyone is paid on time. 


Tips & Advice

  • Ask about relevant examples of the builder’s work and view two examples.
  • Does the builder have a quality control process?
  • Consider how well the builder will work with you.
  • Will you be able to work with the builder for the length of the project?
  • Find out how the builder manages your progress payments.

The Homeworx Quality Standard

Homeworx is Hawke’s Bay’s most awarded home builder. We have won more than 100 Registered Master Builders’ House of the Year Awards since 1999. Our reputation for quality is very important to us but we absolutely understand that our quality matters most when we are building YOUR home.

We achieve that special award-winning quality with our quality control and project management software, Wizard. Our dedicated site supervisor checks over eight stages of construction and ticks things off in Wizard as they are complete. YOU get access to this software when you build with Homeworx, so you know exactly what is happening with your build.

When it comes to progress payments we have a unique system where your progress payments are paid into a holding account that is dedicated to your project. Only suppliers and subcontractors that work on your building project are paid from your dedicated holding account.