1. Are you a licensed builder?
This is the very first question you should ask. Only ever work with licensed home builders in Melbourne as in order for them to have that licence they must have a current Home Owners Warranty Insurance Policy. This covers you for financial loss should the builder die, become insolvent or do a runner.
2. Do you use a qualified tradesman?
There are many ways builders save on costs, the most commonly one used is particular is using poorly trained and non-qualified personnel. There are thousands of people out there that call themselves tradesmen yet have never done an apprenticeship or had formal training. The results are disastrous when it comes to the end finish of your home. If one Melbourne home builder is far cheaper than the other two, alarm bells should be ringing.
3. What about your trade base, do you use the same contractors for each job?
A consistent and reliable trade base is essential to making certain the period home project will be of high quality. It also shows the Melbourne home builder is using decent tradesman and not just picking the very cheapest quotes.
4. Are there any current building disputes underway with the Building Advise and Conciliation Victoria?
This will let you know about the builder’s general reliability and professionalism as well as the overall quality of their work.
5. Have you ever been declared bankrupt?
If your new home builder went bankrupt at some point find out as much details about it before signing with them. If it happens they will just stop work on your site and you will have to wait usually over a year for the insurance to payout. Then, you will still have to find a willing home builder in Melbourne to complete your project, usually at the additional cost as the bankrupt builder more than likely under quoted the job to begin with.
6. Can we walk through your recently completed or current projects and speak to the clients?
This is an absolute must! If the answer is ‘NO’, walk away. Any reputable home builders in Melbourne will have no problems with showing you their work and speaking to their clients as this way you can get feedback about the customer experience and satisfaction. You’ll be surprised about how forthcoming people are with details.
7. How do you manage the build, budget and schedule?
To keep mistakes, cost blow outs and time delays to a minimum the builder should be able to demonstrate how they manage all of these whilst doing multiple projects at the same time. Good home builders in Melbourne will have a system in place to manage these and should be able to easily explain how they do it.
8. What costs are not included in the tender?
Dishonest builders will always breeze over items that are not included in the price and then bill you a large variation as soon as the contract is signed. There will always be certain items Victorian home builders will not know the cost on. In this case they will make a Provisional Sum or Prime Cost items. If another builder doesn’t specify a similar cost make sure you ask why or is it included in the price? Always make sure you’re comparing apples with apples. Any decent new home builder will help you with this.
9. Are there any extra costs that we might encounter during the build?
Your Melbourne home builder should be up front and honest with you, when asked this question. When tendering a job, new home builders will make an allowance based on what the engineering states for footings etc., in order to give you a competitive price. Depending on your soil conditions the builder may have to excavate far deeper than what is stated on the engineering thus costings more in excavation, and have a plan of what the process will be if the worst should happen.
10. Questions to ask yourself
Did the builder seem knowledgeable? Did they seem to understand all aspects of the building process? Do you have a good rapport with them? This is a business that you will be working with closely for the better half of a half a year, so it is important that your personalities do no clash.
Do you trust what they are telling you? Are you comfortable with them? Have you checked their references? You can never be too prepared. You are making a large financial commitment, so get as much information as possible from the professionals and take your time comparing the pros and cons of each.
NEVER choose a new home builder simply because they are the cheapest. Remember – you get what you pay for!