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Get the job done right. 9 questions to ask your builder.


Spring is here which has many people thinking about renovating or even building their home. While many people spend ample amounts of time deciding on design and function, considerably less attention is often dedicated to selecting the right builder. Here are some questions to consider:

Are they licensed? Often overlooked, this question is of significant importance. Not only does a license indicate a certain level of competency, but from a legal standpoint, you would be smarter doing the job yourself than hiring an unlicensed builder.

Are they insured? Also of paramount importance from a legal perspective. Accidents happen  –especially when there are heavy loads, power tools and other machinery involved. Make sure your contractor is covered.

Is bankruptcy a potential issue? If your builder is mid-job when financial difficulties arise, it could be highly problematic and extremely costly for you. Worst case scenario if that you are left out of pocket and with a partially completed home. Avoid any company with red flags in this area.

Are there any current disputes? Disputes don’t always mean that the builder in question is at fault, but it’s always hard to be sure. Best to err on the side of caution.

What other projects are they working on? It’s always a good sign when a builder is in high demand, but the flip side of that is that your project might get sidelined. The main concern is how your project will be prioritised and the resources that are available to be dedicated to it.

References? As with any hire, it’s never a bad thing to follow up with references. Viewing previous projects will also give you a good idea of the quality you can expect.

Timelines? Knowing how long the project will take is always an important consideration. Equally important is having some way of keeping the work within a reasonable time frame. Construction projects have a way of running over expected completion dates.

Who is in charge? Having a central contact person who is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the project is essential. On a large job there are just too many parameters and potential problems that could arise if the various tradespeople and tasks aren’t being coordinated.

Do you like them? Renovations are stressful, expensive and often involve unexpected hurdles. It is during those testing times where having a good relationship with your contractor will make all the difference in terms of how things are dealt with and what your overall experience ends up being.

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