How to choose the right builder for you

Deciding to build a new home, or doing a major renovation is exciting. But, when it comes to choosing a builder it is hard to know where to start.

We think choosing a builder is like starting a new relationship. Entering into a partnership with a builder, or building company, takes honesty and an upfront approach from both the builder and you, the homeowner. 

Do your research

Referrals and word of mouth in the building industry are powerful tools. The first step is to ask friends, family and colleagues to see if they have had any experiences with builders or building firms. They are a genuine indicator of whether a person or firm is good and trustworthy.

It’s also a good idea to go online to do background searches of builders and/or companies. You can also check builders to see if they are Registered Master Builders.

Choose quality

We believe our Master Builder’s represent the best of the industry.  To become a Registered Master Builder, certain quality criteria must be met. This includes building experience, trade and professional qualifications, on-site management experience and of course workmanship. We also carry out financial checks and customers references upon joining. We typically accept less than half of those who apply to be a Master Builder.  

Only a Master Builder can offer you our 10-Year Master Build Guarantee for residential work. This is one of most comprehensive products available on the market, including cover for loss of deposit and non-completion. 

Be prepared

Our Master Builders say that they are often surprised by how unprepared people are at their first meeting with builders, and so below are the recommended questions you should ask and do before signing on the dotted line. 

The questions to ask are:

  • How long has the builder been in business?
  • Are they a Registered Master Builder?
  • Does the builder have a successful track record in building new homes or doing renovation work?
  • Is the builder suited to the size and type of your building project?
  • Does the builder have the available manpower and expertise to suit the job at hand?
  • Is the builder ‘active’ in your area?
  • Can the builder willingly supply testimonials or referees of completed projects, including some that you can contact?
  • Who would run the job, how will you be updated on progress and how often?
  • Will you be sent photos of progress of your house, and who will you talk to if you’re unhappy about something?
  • When would the job start, finish and who advises you of any delays?
  • How long will it take to get plans drawn up, and how long will the building consent process take?

Things to do:

  • Make sure you feel comfortable with the builder. It is important to have open and honest communication so that any problems you strike along the way can be solved as quickly and easily as possible. To get the best out of the relationship there needs to be trust and respect between you.
  • Make sure the builder is asking questions in order to understand you and your project.
  • Get everything in writing, don’t rely on verbal agreements.
  • Ensure you have enough finance to complete the project and factor in any additional costs.
  • Ask for a guarantee.

The main points are – you need to do your homework, and you need to ensure you have the right fit with your builder– it’s about building a solid relationship with someone you can trust and talk to.

Homeowner guides

Our guides for homeowners aim to help you get the best from your build.

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