7 Questions You Must Ask a Builder Before You Sign The Building Contract

If you are considering building a custom home or renovating your existing home, but you are worried about having stress and nightmares by choosing the wrong builder? Then you are not alone. There are a lot of builders in the market, and it can be hard to determine who is the best for your project.

Most homeowners face the same worries and concerns when choosing the right builder to build their dream home. It is the most crucial first step in your whole building process and you can not afford to make a mistake because your home is probably the biggest investment you will ever make.

In exchange for that, you want quality workmanship, minimal stress, no budget blowouts, professional service and to be in full control of your entire project, when it comes to quality, meeting schedules, and budget.

One of the best ways to find a trustworthy, reliable, and professional builder is by asking a lot of questions – most importantly, the right questions.

To help you make an informed decision, we have written this article that outlines the seven key questions you must ask a builder before you sign the building contract.

1). What is their experience in similar types of projects?

First and foremost, you need to ensure that the builder you choose has extensive experience in building the type of home you’re looking to build.

For example, if you want to build a luxury custom home, then you need to choose a builder who is a specialist in building high-end luxurious and custom homes. If you see “We do New Homes, Commercial, Decks, Driveways”, they are a generalist not a specialist.

It is important to ask them about their completed projects and also you can browse through their website for their case studies or project gallery to get an idea of the types of homes they have already built in the past.

This will give you a good indication of whether they have the necessary experience and skills to build your dream home because the last thing you want is to be the guinea pig for a builder who is unprofessional and inexperienced in the type of project you are planning to undertake.

2). Is the builder licensed and insured?

The next question you need to ask is whether the builder you’re considering is licensed and insured. If the builder fails to provide you with evidence of their license and insurance, then you should walk away because it is a huge red flag and it could potentially leave you open to a lot of legal issues and financial problems down the track.

By law, a builder must be licensed in order to operate, and they must also have insurance to protect you as the client and themselves from any potential risks or accidents that may occur during the construction process.

A professional builder will always have their license and insurance up to date and they will be more than happy to provide you with copies of both.

3). Do they prepare a preliminary building agreement?

Before you ask the builder to provide you with a final quote, always ensure that they first prepare a preliminary building agreement for your project. 

A preliminary building agreement is a document that spells out all the requirements of your project, final design drawings, specification documentation, and a fixed price quotation. A PBA also covers what is included and excluded, as well as the builder’s responsibilities and your rights as the client.

This document is extremely important as it will help to protect you from any unexpected costs or budget blowouts that may occur during the construction process.  If the builder you’re considering doesn’t want to prepare a PBA and just push you into signing the final contract directly, then it is a clear sign that they are not a professional builder and you should look elsewhere.

4). Do they provide a fixed-price contract?

A fixed-price contract is a legal agreement between the builder and the client that states the line-by-line cost of the project for each item included in the project specification.

A professional and reputable builder will always provide you with a fixed-price contract to ensure that both parties are aware of the costs involved from the outset and to avoid any misunderstandings or disagreements further down the track.

If the builder offers you a contract that includes terms like PS (Provisional Sum) and PC (Prime Cost), it means that they are not confident in their pricing and they are leaving you liable and opent to y additional charges once the project has started.

A fixed-price contract is a must for any serious construction project, so if the builder you’re considering doesn’t want to provide one, then it’s time to move on.

5). What is their estimated schedule for completion? 

When you’re getting the quote from the builder, another key thing to ask them is about their estimated schedule for completion.  

This is important for two reasons; firstly, you need to make sure that the builder can actually complete the project within the time frame that you need it done, and secondly, you need to be aware of any potential delays that may occur so you can factor them into your overall budget.

A professional builder should be able to give you a realistic timeframe for when they expect the project to be completed, and they should also have a contingency plan in place in case of any delays.

If the builder is unable to provide you with a construction schedule on paper showing the commencement and completion date or their estimated time frame seems unrealistic to you, then it’s time to look somewhere else.

6). Do they offer any guarantees?

When you’re entering into a contract with a builder, it’s important to make sure that they offer some form of guarantee on their work. Ask them how many years of structural warranty they offer on the work they carry out, as well as what their policy is in relation to any defects that may become apparent after completion.

They must give you a warranty on materials used, and works performed by their subcontractors. It’s also important to find out what their policy is on rectifying any defects that may occur after completion, as you want to be sure that you’re not left with any unresolved issues.

7). Do they have any testimonials or references from their past clients?

Finally, it’s always a good idea to see and hear what other people have to say about the builder you’re considering. This will give you an idea of the quality of work and attention to detail you will get from this builder and whether or not their past clients have been happy with the end result.

Even better, ask them to give you references of their past clients and speak to them about their experience, because there is no better way to get an honest opinion than from someone who’s actually had first-hand experience with the builder.

If the builder is hesitant to provide you with any references, then it’s probably because they are not confident in the quality of their work.

Conclusion:

Remember, this is a significant investment so you need to be sure that you’re working with a professional who will be able to deliver on their promises.

By asking the questions outlined in this blog post, you’ll be well on your way to finding a builder that you can trust to get the job done right, on time and within budget.

We hope this article helps you choose the right builder for your project. If you would like more information, have any questions, or you are just looking for a professional home builder in Townsville to discuss your new home build project, please do not hesitate to contact us at 07 4724 1964 or you can leave us a message here, our team will reach out to you shortly.

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