Choosing the Right Builder For Your Renovation Build

If I said to you, you’re going to have a relationship with someone for at least 1 year but it could be up to 7 years and you will hand over a huge sum of money and trust to this stranger, would you be interested to know how to choose the best person for the job?

I’m here to help you make that decision wisely.  Let’s take the pain away shall we?

A lot of my clients tell me that they’re 2 biggest challenges they face after the decision to renovate is what to do next and how to pull the interiors together in a cohesive and beautiful way.  I’m going to tackle the ‘what to do next’ question in this article by focusing on how to choose your builder.

My husband and I had our own building company for 7 years and during that time I came to understand what the client’s main frustrations were and what ours, as builders, were.

Don’t choose your builder based on price.

The best piece of advice I can give you is don’t choose your builder based on their price.

Price is a great motivator if you’re buying something like a Sony TV, and you’re shopping around for the best price either online or at JB Hi-Fi.  This is a ‘brown box’ product which can be bought from a multitude of places.  Building a house or renovating your home has a substantial relationship component to it.  One that will be in your life for 7 years after it’s complete (the time period Builder’s Warranty Insurance covers).  My advice to my clients follows this easy 5 step collaborative process:

Step 1. Use an Architect or Draftsman to design your home’s structure and form;

This will prepare you for your builder who needs a full set of plans to provide an accurate quote to you.

Step 2.       Ask your Architect or Interior Designer to design your home’s interiors and provide a complete and comprehensive Specification document for the builder.  The interior design drawings include floorplans and elevations of each room that requires cabinetry or special features/finishes.  It is the best way to communicate your requirements to your builder and cross references with the Specifications document.  See this example below.

The best part is YOU will receive an accurate price estimate from your builder BEFORE he starts work.  No more variations to the price during construction with this process (unless something unexpected comes up).

Your builder will love you for those documents. They allow him to accurately quote and estimate the time frame on your renovation. Having cabinetry, taps, basins, tiles, carpet, and other fittings and finishes specified will boost your chances of a smooth job and less frustrations all round.

Step 3.      Tender your project to at least 3 builders by providing your Architectural plans, your Interior Design drawings and Specification documents plus your related documents like Engineering, Energy Report etc (ask your Architect to prepare the additional reports for you, it’s easier and usually costs the same as sourcing them directly).

Step 4.     Interview all your builders, call their past customers for testimonials and assess their quotes (notice price is last);

The best builders come from good referrals.

Hearing good feedback from past clients will ensure you feel comfortable and will reassure you that your builder is trustworthy and will do a good job.


Step 5.     Finally decide on the builder that you feel listens the best, whose clients rave about them and who your instinct tells you is the best person for the job.

Now you can get excited about your build starting! You will have been getting excited seeing the process of the design and choosing tiles and the things you love, and now its time for it to all come together!

Happy Renovating!  You can call or email me if you have a question about choosing your builder. I’d love to hear from you, so don’t hesitate, get in touch and get started on your dream project.

This is an exerpt of the Sense of Style “Style Journal”, a newsletter with design tips, product analysis, and more!

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