It is no secret that the building industry on the Gold Coast has been pretty quiet for quite some time. Some builders out there are risking the quality of their work by using cheaper trades in order to “win” jobs. We hear of this all too often and unfortunately what comes with this is hearing the stories from people who have had a terrible time throughout their build. We have heard of major issues during the project, as well as the builder taking far longer than expected to complete the project, and also customer disappointment in the quality of the end result of the project.
Value for money over a bad bargain
Because the builder you chose will be the linchpin of your entire project, it’s very important to consider other factors (not only perceived cost savings) when choosing the company to build your project. Whichever project you are undertaking, whether it is a new house or a renovation or a commercial fit out, it is a massive investment of your money and time. It is, therefore, essential to choose a builder that has the right qualifications to ensure the project is run smoothly and the outcome is of the highest standards.
Since building and renovating is something most of us rarely do, finding a good builder to collaborate with on your project can become quite a tricky undertaking. And with so much at stake, it’s crucial that you get your selection right the first time around. So how do you choose a quality builder for your project on the Gold Coast?
Tips for finding a trusted, qualified builder
To help you out, we have put together a checklist to assist you in finding the best builder for your project.
- Check that the builder is licensed with the Building Services Authority (QBCC – https://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au ). The QBCC should be the first port of call for anyone considering building or renovating. Any builder performing building work valued over $3,300 must hold a QBCC licence. A licensed builder has met QBCC’s technical, managerial and financial requirements. A builder’s licence can be easily checked online using their licence number. Remember, a builder’s licence is only valid in the state in which it was issued, so ensure your builder has a Queensland license and not one from another state.
- Check that the builder has all the relevant insurances. This is another important point that many people miss. The builder needs to have public liability insurance as well as a home warranty insurance. Often things do not go as smoothly as expected, and should anything not go to plan; the builder needs to be covered by their insurances. A client may be liable if an uninsured person has had an accident on the client’s property. A home warranty insurance ensures the client is not short-changed and the builder actually completes their work and rectifies any defects that might arise.
- Check for affiliation to professional bodies. Check that the builder belongs to at least one professional association. A good builder should belong to at least one of the two main associations for the building industry. These are the Master Builders Association (MBA – https://www.masterbuilders.asn.au/ ) or the Housing Industry Association (HIA – https://hia.com.au/ ). Choosing a builder that is a member of one of these associations will give you peace of mind that your builder is appropriately licensed, that they are being kept up to date with new legislations and compliance issues and that they have met a high standard of expertise within the industry. You will also have the support of the association if there are problems during the building process, e.g. assistance with dispute resolution.
- Request a detailed quotation. Ask your builder to furnish you with detailed quotes for the entire project. Every quote you receive should be able to be broken down for you to show where every single estimated dollar is going. Having a detailed quote not only enables you to compare prices more effectively and negotiate, but it also gives you a reference document that you can go back to if costs start to balloon in the middle of the project. Think twice about using a builder that will not provide you with this information.
Additionally, make sure to also ask about the things that are not included in the quotation. This is a good way to unearth items that either party might have assumed are included or excluded and avoid confusion that could result in disagreements later on.
- Request to contact referees. There is no better way of finding out about a business than through reviews from customers who have already used their services/products. Check the builder’s website, if there is a project on it that you like, ask the builder if you can contact the client. This way you will know that the completed projects on the website are legit and also find out the past client’s experience with the builder. Talk to at least three previous clients to get a more holistic view of the builder in question.
- Ask about the tradies and subcontractors. Ask the builder if they use the same trusted tradespeople and if these tradesmen have the appropriate insurances and qualifications. More than likely the builder’s tradesmen, i.e. the electrician, plumber, tiler, plasterer etc., will be subcontractors to the company. If required, enquire about the subcontractors’ insurances and qualifications to ensure your project is being handled by professionals.
- Ask to see the contract. Before you enter into a business arrangement with the builder, make sure you request to have a look at the contract. Go over it thoroughly (read even the fine print) and ask for clarification where you don’t understand. Understanding what is contained in your contract will help you avoid nasty surprises later on as you will be aware of exactly what you’re signing up for. If going over contracts is something you’d rather avoid, consult a solicitor with expertise on building contracts to ascertain that the contract is in your best interest.
- Find out who you’ll be dealing with. Often, builders will use different contractors to get a project done. As such, the person who you’ve been dealing with in the preliminary stages of the arrangement might not be the person you deal with on the day-to-day once the project commences. Ask if the representative you engaged with initially will be the one you’ll be dealing with throughout the entire project. If not, ask to meet the person who will be running the show, so you know who to go to in case of any issues.
We know all too well the repercussions of using a builder that is not qualified to do the job and is not trusted within the industry. Do not trade quality with a lower cost as this will only cause issues in the long run. Your building project should be worry-free, run smoothly and on time. Choose the right builder and enjoy the building process!!
Hennessy Building Projects are Gold Coast Builders we take pride in our outstanding track record of building and construction. We are multi award winners and registered Master Builders and offer fixed price contracts. Your assigned project manager will be with you until the end of the project and will be with you every step of the way.