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by ADK Homes 15 Aug, 2017
Building a new home is an exciting process, full of lots of big decisions along the way.   And clearly you've made some already, such as the suburb and type of home design.  One of the biggest decisions is which builder should we go with?  

So what questions do you need to ask?

How do I choose the right new home builder?

There is a lot said about communication and one of the most important factors you should include is how comfortable you are in dealing with the Builder.   So test the relationship early but putting some hard questions and see how the builder reacts to get a sense of how they might really behave after you sign up.

Professional and Reliable:

Warm up questions:

  • Are they licensed and insured?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • How many new homes have they completed?
  • How many other homes are they working on at the same time?

Business Structure and Employees:

Don't hold back:

  • Are you a Director of the company? 
  • How many staff do you directly employ?
  • Do you have problems with Cashflow?
  • Do you have a high turnover of sub contractors?

Always get references:  

  • Ask for a list of the last 5 clients and if you can call them? 
  • Ask for the contact details of the following suppliers:
  1. Brick Supplier
  2. Concrete Supplier
  3. Timber & General Hardware

  • Ask for the contact details of the following tradesman (sub contractors):
  1. Carpenter
  2. Concretor
  3. Brick Layer
  4. Plumber & Electrical
  5. Architect / Surveyors / Certifiers

The above suppliers and sub-contractors make up the majority of cost on a new home.  If the Builder is hesitant to provide this information be concerned.   It is normal for Builders to use new tradesmen from time to time, so be reasonable here.  What you are looking for is if the accounts are up to date and if the tradesmen have any money owing.

There are three kinds of Builders:

  1. The Flashy big spenders - They don't reinvest into their company and put aside for the ups-and-downs in the industry.  Because of this, they often have Cashflow issues and don't pay their suppliers on time or at all!   The first people they stop paying are the tradesmen (sub-contractors) as they can always find someone new for the next job.  So always ask the sub-contractor if they would continue working with that Builder.
  2. The Honest Little Guy - They don't have the ego of the 1st Builder but don't have the business skills to get off the hamster wheel OR they are happy with doing a few builds a year.  The questions you need to ask still apply, but be mindful that your project might take longer and that costs you money.
  3. The Ethical and Professional Builders - Most large builders fall into this category but don't always assume you are safe with them either. Again, the questions above are very much relevant.  The Professional Builder is the company who has a culture of doing the right thing buy everyone - Sub-Contractors, Suppliers and of course Clients.  When you do speak to past clients and sub-contractors, keep an ear out for the following words:  Integrity, Professional, Attention to Detail, Concerned, Thoughtful and always contactable.

Can I see some previous examples of your work?

Will mean you get to see and touch the quality of the workmanship. 

What isn’t included?

Be very careful here.   Variations, additions are extremely costly.   Always ask for a detail list of inclusions and what the charges are for variations and extras.

Can I call the building supervisor and visit the construction site?

There are safety precautions but a reasonable builder should deny you the joy of seeing your home being built.  Having access to the building supervisor and build is a clear indication of the openness of the builder.   

Always get it in....  

Unfortunately, I have taken on Insurance work to clean up the mess when a Builder goes under.  I don't like doing these but sometimes you need to help people in despair.   The stories I could share with you are astonishing.  And they all revolve around trust.   So my tip to keep things in check as you are building:

  1. Always get it in writing.  Email and phone are great, but print the thing off and get it signed by both parties asap.
  2. Never ever ever pay beyond the stage of the build.  You should not need to and if it does the above alarm bells about Cashflow should be ringing.
  3. If the Builder is too hard to deal with and you feel pressured, invest the money and hire a project manager/consultant to deal with the build on your behalf.
Overall, a new build is exciting and a pleasant experience.  You just need to ground yourself and think rationally, not emotionally when making a decision.

by ADK Homes 15 Aug, 2017
Building a new home is an exciting process, full of lots of big decisions along the way.   And clearly you've made some already, such as the suburb and type of home design.  One of the biggest decisions is which builder should we go with?  

So what questions do you need to ask?

How do I choose the right new home builder?

There is a lot said about communication and one of the most important factors you should include is how comfortable you are in dealing with the Builder.   So test the relationship early but putting some hard questions and see how the builder reacts to get a sense of how they might really behave after you sign up.

Professional and Reliable:

Warm up questions:

  • Are they licensed and insured?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • How many new homes have they completed?
  • How many other homes are they working on at the same time?

Business Structure and Employees:

Don't hold back:

  • Are you a Director of the company? 
  • How many staff do you directly employ?
  • Do you have problems with Cashflow?
  • Do you have a high turnover of sub contractors?

Always get references:  

  • Ask for a list of the last 5 clients and if you can call them? 
  • Ask for the contact details of the following suppliers:
  1. Brick Supplier
  2. Concrete Supplier
  3. Timber & General Hardware

  • Ask for the contact details of the following tradesman (sub contractors):
  1. Carpenter
  2. Concretor
  3. Brick Layer
  4. Plumber & Electrical
  5. Architect / Surveyors / Certifiers

The above suppliers and sub-contractors make up the majority of cost on a new home.  If the Builder is hesitant to provide this information be concerned.   It is normal for Builders to use new tradesmen from time to time, so be reasonable here.  What you are looking for is if the accounts are up to date and if the tradesmen have any money owing.

There are three kinds of Builders:

  1. The Flashy big spenders - They don't reinvest into their company and put aside for the ups-and-downs in the industry.  Because of this, they often have Cashflow issues and don't pay their suppliers on time or at all!   The first people they stop paying are the tradesmen (sub-contractors) as they can always find someone new for the next job.  So always ask the sub-contractor if they would continue working with that Builder.
  2. The Honest Little Guy - They don't have the ego of the 1st Builder but don't have the business skills to get off the hamster wheel OR they are happy with doing a few builds a year.  The questions you need to ask still apply, but be mindful that your project might take longer and that costs you money.
  3. The Ethical and Professional Builders - Most large builders fall into this category but don't always assume you are safe with them either. Again, the questions above are very much relevant.  The Professional Builder is the company who has a culture of doing the right thing buy everyone - Sub-Contractors, Suppliers and of course Clients.  When you do speak to past clients and sub-contractors, keep an ear out for the following words:  Integrity, Professional, Attention to Detail, Concerned, Thoughtful and always contactable.

Can I see some previous examples of your work?

Will mean you get to see and touch the quality of the workmanship. 

What isn’t included?

Be very careful here.   Variations, additions are extremely costly.   Always ask for a detail list of inclusions and what the charges are for variations and extras.

Can I call the building supervisor and visit the construction site?

There are safety precautions but a reasonable builder should deny you the joy of seeing your home being built.  Having access to the building supervisor and build is a clear indication of the openness of the builder.   

Always get it in....  

Unfortunately, I have taken on Insurance work to clean up the mess when a Builder goes under.  I don't like doing these but sometimes you need to help people in despair.   The stories I could share with you are astonishing.  And they all revolve around trust.   So my tip to keep things in check as you are building:

  1. Always get it in writing.  Email and phone are great, but print the thing off and get it signed by both parties asap.
  2. Never ever ever pay beyond the stage of the build.  You should not need to and if it does the above alarm bells about Cashflow should be ringing.
  3. If the Builder is too hard to deal with and you feel pressured, invest the money and hire a project manager/consultant to deal with the build on your behalf.
Overall, a new build is exciting and a pleasant experience.  You just need to ground yourself and think rationally, not emotionally when making a decision.

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