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6 essential questions to ask your builder before starting your project

essential questions to ask your builder before starting your project

When undertaking a renovation or extension project, selecting the right builder is crucial. Asking targeted questions is key to assessing the builder and ensuring a smooth and successful project. Below are six fundamental questions that you should ask.

1. What kind of projects do you specialise in?

Example question: “Can you share examples of similar projects you’ve completed?”

Why this question is important: It is important to carefully consider a builder’s specialisation to ensure that they possess the necessary expertise and experience for your specific project. For example, suppose you are embarking on a full home renovation. In that case, engaging a builder with a proven track record of successfully completing similar comprehensive renovation projects is essential.

🚩Red flag response: “We handle all kinds of projects,” or “We can do anything.” This may indicate a lack of focus or specific expertise.

2. Are you a Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP) and affiliated with an industry body such as the Master Builders Association (MBA)?

Example Question: “Are you an LBP and a member of the Master Builders Association?”

Why this question is important: A Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP) designation ensures that the builder has met specific competency standards. Affiliation with professional bodies like the MBA provides an additional layer of credibility and adherence to industry standards.

🚩 Red flag response: “No, we’re not affiliated with industry bodies.” This could indicate a lack of professional standards and accountability.

3. Can you provide written testimonials from past clients?

Example question: “Can you provide written testimonials or references from past clients?” 

Why this question is important: Written testimonials from past clients offer insight into the builder’s quality of work, reliability, and customer service. They help build trust and provide real examples of the builder’s performance.

🚩 Red flag response: “We don’t have written testimonials,” or “Our clients prefer to stay anonymous”. This may indicate a lack of satisfied clients or transparency.

4. Are you insured? What does this insurance cover?

are you insured

Example question: “Can you confirm your insurance covers loss of deposit, non-completion, and defects?”

Why this question is important: Having insurance coverage is crucial to safeguarding yourself from potential financial losses in the event of unexpected issues such as project non-completion, defects, or loss of deposit. Verifying that the builder has comprehensive insurance coverage is important, as this provides reassurance and peace of mind regarding protecting your investment.

🚩 Red flag response: “We don’t have insurance,” or “Our insurance doesn’t cover those aspects”. This exposes you to significant financial risk.

5. What is your process for managing time and budget?

Example question: “How do you manage project timelines and budgets?”

Why this question is important: Assessing the builder’s ability to manage time and budget effectively is essential for ensuring the successful execution of a construction project. Competent time and budget management play a pivotal role in preventing delays and cost overruns, ultimately contributing to the overall success of the project.

do you provide a detailed breakdown of your quote

🚩 Red flag response: “We handle it as we go,” or “It is impossible to plan a project like this”. This suggests potential inefficiency and mismanagement.

6. Do you provide a detailed breakdown of your quote?

Example question: “Can you provide a detailed breakdown of your quote?”

Why this question is important: A detailed quote breakdown helps you understand the costs involved and ensures transparency. It allows you to see exactly what you are paying for and can help prevent misunderstandings about the scope of work.

🚩 Red flag response: “We only provide lump-sum quotes,” or “We can’t give a detailed breakdown.” This could lead to disputes and hidden costs later in the project.

Asking these essential questions will help you qualify your builder and ensure you choose a professional who can deliver a successful renovation or extension project. 

For more detailed insights and tips, download our free eBook, 7 Things You Must Know Before Starting Your Home Renovation, to help you make informed decisions and avoid common pitfalls.

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