— By Joh Domingo, Building Buddy
AFTER YOU have the basic criteria for your home design and know what you are looking for, you can focus your search and refine your understanding of building costs and the effect the selection of inclusions and design elements have on the those costs. It is now time to initiate the participation of your preferred Builder.
We have found it useful to select builders based on the their technical trade skill. Many House Builders use a focus on promotions and Special Deals as their primary advertising tool. We believe that it clouds the focus to use these deals as a criteria for selecting a builder. Especially when many of these deals involve superficial inclusions that could be used to obscure some desirable elements that deliver real benefits. There seems to be little value in getting 'FREE' upgrades to the inclusions, if the home is packaged to a minimal standard to start with.
Common sleight of hand techniques include the need to upgrade already “upgraded” items because the design makes the “Free Upgrade” seem ridiculous. For example a glazed bi-fold door to the external deck is pretty useless if it only 2700mm wide. The cost of upgrading this “Free upgrade” to a reasonable size could probably pay for the entire upgrade.
Further complicating the picture is that Inclusions are sometimes confused with quality. Basic quality revolves around the ‘finish’ of the product as explained in Best Quality.
Because quality is one of the most important criteria when choosing a builder, it should be properly defined. A good builder should achieve an exceptional finish, even if the inclusions are fairly basic. Since achieving an exceptional finish is a reflection of the builders ability to manage his tradesmen, we should carefully examine a builder’s relationship with his subcontractors and suppliers. That is why we always advise our builders to expect that customer will ask to talk with his tradesmen.
A House Builder that blames his subbies is like a tradesman that blames his tools.
Talk to the builder’s subcontractors if it is at all possible, to obtain reasonable third party impressions of the builder's relationships with his colleagues.
Also check to make sure the builder has a strong enough team to manage the amount of work they do efficiently. This is often easier said than done, because a sensible subcontractor or supplier will avoid appearing to bad-mouth their builder, but some effort should be made in this regard. I recommend following the steps outlined in Best Price.
Despite the perception generated by prolific advertisements, the margin spread between new house builders’ prices, based on a “standard” style construction, is very small. Intense competition over an extended period of time has meant that the opportunity for profiteering in the general house construction industry has all but disappeared.
In the end, it is the bottom line, after all your special requirements are taken into account that determines whether you are getting a good deal from a new home builder or not. A good deal, however, is only a part of it.
The single most irritating cause for client dispute with builders, that incompetence was causing them to waste far too much time during the construction process, meaning the builder took far too long to build the home. Short construction times, more than any other single indicator, almost always is the mark of a competent builder, and vice versa.
To make sure of this, and also to inquire about other relevant information, it is wise to insist on speaking to a sample of existing, and past clients of the builder before you decide to engage them to build their home.
Be aware that these samples will generally be the best they could manage.
It is nevertheless better that they have some clients you can talk to, rather than none. Try to speak to them in person if possible, because a face-to-face conversation is sure to uncover snippets of information you will get over the phone. Please examine the basic guidelines on how to conduct a conversation with Builders referees contained in Best Price.
The rule is: If they have done a reasonable job for themselves (as in their display), or for someone else; there is half-a-chance they will do it for you. If they could not even do a reasonable job for themselves; you have no chance they will do it for you.
Now we've examined how to get the best new home plans and designs, we've covered how to get the best quality and the best price for your home, and this article explains the qualities of the best builder.
Please, never feel hesitant to call Joh, your Building Buddy, on 1800 107 102 of you have any questions about this series of articles, in which we've shared The Building Secret.