STEP BY STEP: Builders should make provision for regular inspections.
Caught up in the euphoria of planning your new home, it’s easy to overlook the specifics of how your builder operates. But in much the same way that it’s advisable to have a contract that covers every eventuality, it’s also handy to know how your builder works as this will smooth the building process and make it easier to handle any changes.
In fact, these two areas overlap when it comes to factors such as the builders’ insurance, guarantees, payment schedules and withholding sums, who deals with the council, and how disputes are resolved.
One important aspect to consider is how your builder handles any changes to the plans (variations) during the building process. With an independent builder it can sometimes be tricky getting an exact price for any variations, particularly where labour is concerned, but a building company will usually have better systems for identifying and controlling costs.
Your builder will often have preferred suppliers for construction materials and fittings as well as preferred subcontractors. If you can, you should familiarise yourself with these firms, products and workers to make sure you’re happy they will all produce a quality home.
You’ll also want to know what provisions the builder makes to allow for regular inspections so you can check on progress, especially as the project nears practical completion. Particularly important is making sure that your builder has a plan in place to make sure work is properly supervised right to the end. The temptation with some builders towards the end of a project is to send experienced workers off to start the next job, leaving the work on yours with little direction.
Chris Leith, of David Reid Homes Wanaka and Southland, says the company believes ‘‘good business is based on good systems’’. Chris says David Reid Homes has an integrated estimating, ordering, job control and accounting system that allows it to efficiently manage all jobs from initial concept through to handing over the keys.
‘‘We have in-house systems for clear communication between all parties,’’ Chris says, ‘‘be it addressing council, supplier or client queries quickly or acting on changes that our clients may make during the course of the build.
‘‘Our systems allow us to accurately price work, enabling us to provide fixed-price contracts for both renovations and new builds, ensuring our customers get the best price possible.
‘‘From the initial meeting with our consultants, our clients are clearly informed how our build process works and what each step entails from their time input through to their financial input. Our policy is to provide an upfront and visible process throughout our entire design and build programme, providing peace of mind to our clients.’’