Today, we quiz David Reid Homes Counties Manukau owner Brendon Hamill, who’s been working in New Zealand’s building industry for 28 years, on the most important questions to ask, before choosing a builder.
How much experience do you have?
The first thing you should do is get an idea of the builder’s level of experience and the type of projects they have worked on previously to ensure it matches your requirements, says Brendon. “If you’re building a house, someone with a commercial background might not be your best option. “On the other hand if you’ve got quite a complex home design that’s involved an engineer, it’s quite helpful for your builder to have had commercial experience, and be accustomed to working with both engineers and architects.”
What guarantees and warrantees can you provide?
Protect your investment and find out what completion guarantees they provide. “David Reid Homes Rock Solid Guarantee, for example, underwrites the completion of your home, so that when you start building with David Reid Homes you can rest assured it will be completed to the standard you agreed on.” David Reid Homes Rock Solid Guarantee also ensures the initial deposit you pay to your David Reid Homes builder is protected, assuming you don’t pay more than 10% of the contract price. David Reid Homes is also a member of New Zealand Registered Master Builders, which means workmanship is covered for up to 10 years after you move in.
Can you provide references?
Ask for the contact details of some of their contractors and previous clients. “You can get a really good gauge on the credibility of a builder and how organised they are by talking to their contractors,” Brendon says. “Likewise, talking to some of their previous clients will give you a good idea of what they’re like to work with.”
Will you work with my chosen architect and/or designer?
“If you want to design your own home, be sure to get a builder on board to work with your architect or designer from the get go, “ says Brendon. Your builder and design team should be in constant communication with each other to ensure a workable design. “It enables us to spot any potential issues during the design process and avoid any costly mistakes before we get started on site.”
What happens if we want to make changes once building begins?
Inevitably there will be changes, which will impact on the timing and cost of finished project, says Brendon. “In a perfect world, there wouldn’t be any changes once building begins, but very rarely is that the case. “However, it’s important to understand that even small changes have two relevant costs - the financial cost and the other is to the duration of your project - even seemingly minor changes can push out your move-in date. Your builder should explain this to you to avoid any nasty surprises at the end.”
How many projects have you got on at the same time?
Seek assurance your builder has the time and resources to spend on you and your project. You want to know he won’t be so busy he can’t take your calls, and that your home is getting the full time and attention it deserves.
Is there a contract?
Always cover your bases and ensure all aspects of the job are well documented and relevant paperwork has been received back before making any payments. You want to ensure your deposit is not being used to cover other projects. David Reid Homes have an established payment schedule to minimise risk and exposure to both parties.