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Your Essential Guide to Asking the Right Questions When Hiring a Builder in Sydney

30 June 2024
Kitchen photo in Sydney

Embarking on a building project, whether it's a new home, an extension, or a renovation, is an exciting yet significant investment. Choosing the right builder is crucial to the success of your project. When making a decision, you should be considering multiple aspects of the project and not just base your decision on who provides the cheapest quote or who says they can get the job done the fastest. As a trusted builder in Sydney with over 15 years’ experience, we understand the importance of clear communication and transparency. When working with clients we often get asked some important questions in our initial consultations and we think every client should know the following about their builder before embarking on their build journey.  

1. Are You Licensed and Insured?

Why It Matters: In Sydney, all builders must be licensed and insured to legally operate. In NSW, builders are classified based on the type of work they are licensed to perform and the financial value of the projects they can undertake. This ensures they meet the necessary standards to undertake projects of a certain size and can be held accountable for their work.

What to Look For: Ask for their license number and verify it through the NSW Fair Trading website. Ensure they have comprehensive insurance coverage, including public liability and home warranty insurance.

2. Can You Provide References from Recent Projects?

Why It Matters: Speaking to previous clients gives you an insight into the builder’s reliability, quality of work, and professionalism. Past clients will be able to give you an insight into their journey with the builder and their thoughts. 

What to Look For: Request at least three recent references. Ask about their overall experience, how the builder handled challenges, and if they would hire them again.

3. What Is Your Estimated Timeline for Completion?

Why It Matters: Knowing the project timeline helps you plan accordingly and sets expectations for both parties. We often recommend moving out during a renovation project so this will also give you an idea of how long you may need to rent or find other accommodation for.

What to Look For: Ensure the builder provides a realistic timeline and explains the factors that could potentially cause delays.

4. Can You Provide a Detailed Quote?

Why It Matters: A detailed quote helps you understand the cost breakdown and avoid unexpected expenses. 

What to Look For: The quote should include costs for materials, labour, permits, and any other expenses related to their services. It is also important to ask if the quote is fixed or subject to change and if it is to change, what are the terms. 

5. What Is Your Payment Schedule?

Why It Matters: Understanding the payment schedule ensures you manage your finances accordingly and ensures the builder's financial stability. Payment schedules are important to ensure the builder can progress with your build within their set-time frame, cover labour and material costs. By having a clear payment schedule, you can plan in advance. 

What to Look For: A standard practice is to make payments at key stages of the project. Be wary of builders who ask for large upfront payments that cover a large portion of the project. 

6. Who Will Be Managing the Project On-Site?

Why It Matters: Knowing who will be on-site ensures you have a point of contact for any questions or concerns during the build. Building and renovating is one of the largest financial investments you’ll make in your lifetime – we recommend getting to know the person responsible for overseeing your dream home. We always ensure our clients meet and stay with the one project manager for the entirety of their build. It ensures consistency for your relationship and is essential for good communication. 

What to Look For: Confirm if the builder themselves will manage the project or if it will be a site supervisor. Ensure you meet the person responsible and feel comfortable with them.

7. How Do You Handle Changes or Variations During the Project?

Why It Matters: Changes are common in building projects. Understanding the process for handling variations can prevent misunderstandings and additional costs. 

What to Look For: Ensure the builder explains the process for requesting changes, how they will be documented, and any additional costs involved.

8. What Warranties and Guarantees Do You Offer?

Why It Matters: Warranties and guarantees protect you from defects and poor workmanship after the project is completed. All builders should have a warranty period once your project is completed. This protects you should anything break or need rectifying once you’ve moved in. 

What to Look For: Ask about the duration and coverage of warranties on workmanship and materials. Ensure you receive all warranties in writing.

Hiring your builder is a big decision, but asking the right questions can help you find a reliable partner for your project. At Capstone Projects, we pride ourselves on our transparency, quality workmanship, and excellent customer service. It’s why so many of our clients refer us onto family and friends.  

Contact us today to discuss your building needs and see how we can bring your vision to life.

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