Brief your builder

A better brief for a smoother build

Whether you’re building a home or renovating, you’ll want to ensure you get your project off to a good start. To help, we’ve put together our top tips to developing a thorough brief with your builder so everyone is on the same page, right from the start.

Get your questions ready (and make sure they’re answered)

There’s a range of helpful questions to ask a potential builder that’ll help you get to know them, and importantly, the way they answer your questions will quickly show you if you have the right rapport to work well together.

Some questions you should consider asking include:

  • Are you a licenced builder?
  • How long is your building maintenance period?
  • Are you currently involved in any past or current building disputes?
  • Which geographical areas do you work in?
  • Do you have a certificate of currency for home indemnity insurance?
  • What other projects will you be working on, while you’re working on my project?

It’s also worth asking for proof of any insurance, licence or registration documents – remember a quality builder will be happy to provide these to you.

Be prepared to answer lots of questions

Your builder won’t do this to be annoying, they do this to ensure everyone is on the same page and they have all of the correct information. Some questions you might hear include:

  • Why are you renovating or building?
  • How would you describe the overall style you’re aiming to achieve?
  • How do you want the space to feel?
  • What materials would you like to use and why?
  • What colours do you have in mind?
  • Is there anything you’d absolutely hate to see?
  • How important is energy efficiency in your new home or renovation?
  • What is your budget?

Ask if you can view some recently finished projects

Seeing is believing. Looking at a builders’ recently completed work gives you the opportunity to inspect finishes and you’ll get a good feel if the builder will be right for your project. Best of all, you can take the opportunity to speak with the builders’ client and ask them directly for their feedback on the job done.

Make sure your quote is fully itemised

A fully itemised quote will have a detailed breakdown of each aspect of your project. This makes it easier to see exactly what you’re paying for, and it’ll make it easier to compare quotes from different builders.

Put your documents in order

To help keep the project running smoothly, it’s a good idea to get all your documents in order. Some important ones include:

  • The building contract (make sure to check to see if the bank needs to sign it too)
  • Building plans
  • Building specifications and Title documentation
  • Quantity Surveyor report
  • Construction loan document

Make sure the contract spells it all out

A solid contract will include all relevant dates and progress payments, which will avoid any confusion down the track.

Getting the start, end and milestone dates also help you gain a realistic timeframe so you can properly plan your living expenses during the build.

Keep the communication lines open

If you have any problems or concerns, at any stage of the build, let your consultant know. A good builder will allocate a dedicated consultant to your project, and it’s important to develop a good rapport with them.

Having trust and open communication with your consultant also means you can free your time and avoid unnecessary site visits, because they’ll keep you up to date on all developments.

Time is money, especially on a building site

A good builder will manage a project in a way that reduces any unnecessary delays, which helps to keep your costs down. But there are ways you can help save time on your build too.

Choose your colour scheme early. This process can usually take time (and can often be incredibly overwhelming). By having all of your colours and stock chosen, and ready to go, you can reduce unnecessary delays.

Ask about their environmental commitments

This should cover things such as how the site will be kept clean, how construction and demolition waste will be managed, and how sediment will be controlled. And depending on your local council, there may be additional requirements to consider.