Beyond Bricks and Mortar: Choosing the Right Builder

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Beyond Bricks and Mortar: Choosing the Right Builder
Building or renovating your own home requires a huge commitment of time, money and emotion. Choosing the right builder is a crucial decision.
Keep reading for a guide on how to choose the right builder.
What Qualifications Does My Builder Need?
If you are building a new home or intend to renovate your house or add an extension, you may need the services of a range of professionals, other than a builder, such as quantity surveyor,a tradesperson, a demolisher, a building surveyor, a draftsperson, an architect or an engineer.
Under Victorian law, these are all building practitioners and they must use a major domestic building contract for all work worth more than $16,000, including renovations, extensions and repairs.
They are also required by law to take out domestic building insurance for work worth more than $16000 to cover you in the event that they die, disappear or become insolvent. They must show you proof of a certificate of currency for this insurance before they take a deposit and start to build a house, extend or renovate an existing home, or carry out maintenance.
If your builder or tradesperson carries out work worth more than $10,000, they must be registered with the VBA. This includes carpenters, bricklayers and concreters.
You can check to see if a builder is registered by using the VBA’s Practitioner Search.  The VBA also has a Practitioner Sanction Register where you can see if a building practitioner has any disciplinary sanctions in place.
You can check is a builder if eligible for domestic building insurance by using the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority Builder Search.
Master Builders
While you don’t need a master builder to complete your building project, hiring one means you have the extra assurance of employing someone who has been accepted as a member of the industry’s peak body.
How Do I Choose A Builder?
In this age of quick and easy access to information, and possible information overload, it can be tricky to find the tradesperson or company who will do a good quality job for you and your family. It pays to do your homework when such a big decision is at stake.
Ask your architect for a recommendation. Your architect will have a network of contacts of reputable and reliable tradespeople, so this could be your first port of call.
A ‘word of mouth’ recommendation from friends or family is a good idea, especially as you can see for yourself the quality of the work. If a recommendation comes to you from someone you don’t know well, make sure you do your own thorough research before making a decision.
Any builder you engage must be licenced, registered and insured. Details of licensed and insured builders can be found by checking with Consumer Affairs Victoria.
Start by asking the HIA (Housing Industry of Australia) or MBA (Master Builders of Australia) for their list of members.
For any builder you are considering, ask to see their previous or current projects. Don’t be afraid to ask for a reference from previous clients, or use an online review platform to get some unbiased feedback.
Request an itemised quote which includes materials and labour. Three to five quotes will give you an idea of what is included in a quote and what you consider essential or non-essential inclusions.
Once you are happy with a quote, find out who will be doing work. A builder may have a number of different contractors who will complete various parts of your home, and as the customer you are entitled to have these details.
Most importantly, don’t sign any contract until you are satisfied that all of your questions have been answered and you have the information you need.
What If Things Go Wrong?
The Consumer Affairs Victoria website gives details information on the steps to follow when you are in dispute with your builder.
They recommended trying to resolve the dispute yourself by discussing the issue with your builder. Keep copies of all relevant documents and a record of all conversations you have had with your builder. It’s also a good idea to take photos of the work that is the subject of your dispute.
Check the Victorian Building Authority’s Guide to Standards and Tolerances which details the appropriate standards and quality of work required of Victorian builders.
If you cannot resolve your issue by speaking, send letter or email. Letters should be sent by registered post for proof of delivery.
If you don’t receive a response within a reasonable timeframe you can lodge online application for dispute resolution through Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria (DBDRV).
If your building dispute remains unresolved after going through the DBDRV process, you may be eligible for assistance from the Domestic Building Legal Service (DBLS).
For more information about getting help from DBLS, visit the DBLS section on the Justice Connect website.
How Can We Help?
The The Home Inspection Hub offers a comprehensive and professional package that includes separate inspections conducted at the end of each critical construction stage. In addition, we can also offer a contract review and maintenance inspection to complement the package.
Having the team at The Home Inspection Hub assist you during each construction phase will give you peace of mind and help guide you along the journey. Our team of building inspectors and accredited architects have many years of hands-on experience in the building industry.
Contact The Home Inspection Hub today and speak to one of our friendly sales staff about our new home inspection packages.
Phone: 1300 071 283
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