How to Choose the Right Builder

How to Choose the Right Builder

You can make real progress now in preparing for your new home build while services are limited. Our last article talked about getting your finance and land sorted during lockdown. Today we’re going to talk about how to choose the right builder.

The right builder = a good builder

Not all builders are created equal which may make choosing a good one sound like a daunting prospect.

Building a new home will probably be the largest investment you ever make, so it’s vital to find out as much information as possible about your builder.

Happily, there are a number of key things you can do, which will help gather the information you need to make this important decision.

Start with Availability

It sounds obvious and you may even have someone in mind but not all builders build throughout the country. Look at who is building in the area you want to build. Put a list together of who they are, then go about gathering your information in a systematic kind of way to ascertain their availability, qualifications, reviews and affordability.

Identify key areas

You may only have two or three builders on your list but draw up a simple chart which identifies key areas and assign a score to each builder. This will help give you an idea of how they rate and should include the following:

Qualifications and Experience

You can be sure you’re dealing with qualified and experienced builders who take pride in the quality of their work if they are a Registered Master Builder or a New Zealand Certified Builder, giving you the assurance (not to mention guarantee!) of build quality.

This is especially true if you plan to build on a challenging site or your design requires special construction skills.

Portfolio of Projects

Take a look at the builder’s projects. They should have a portfolio of previous builds you can see online, or visit in person once travel restrictions ease. This will give you a really good idea if the builder can work to your style and specifications. No matter what you plan, your builder should be able to work to the style and design of your new home.

Pricing and Quotes

Different builders price differently so make sure you know the quality of the specifications and what’s included in the price. In other words, compare apples with apples.

Cheapest is definitely not always best. Low quotes may contain a high number of provisional cost or pc sums, guarantees are also often compromised on lower-cost builds.  Treat these as warning bells as they can mean price blowouts down the track. A fixed-price contract gives you a clear idea of your build cost from the start and as you research, we strongly suggest you include some of your custom requirements. 

Workload and Subcontractors

Check how many builds are under construction in your area. If there’s a number, that’s usually a good indicator. Good builders are busy builders.

It’s likely certain jobs on the build will be done by specialist subcontractors. Concrete foundation slabs for example. Make sure the subbie’s quality of work is covered by your contracted builder. Make no assumptions about who is going to build your house. Ask.

References, Reputation and Referrals

Reputations matter so ask the builder how long have they’ve been in business.  Ask for references from previous builds and check where possible from former clients about their experience of working with the builder.  Questions to ask are:

  • Were deadline’s met? If not, why not?
  • Was the build within budget? If not, why not?
  • Was the builder approachable, a good communicator and easy to get hold of?
  • Were you kept in the picture every step of the way?

It might be that you decide who to choose based on a friends’ recommendation but even if this is the case, do your research.

Securing a good builder can be the difference between an exciting and stress free journey to finishing and moving into your dream home, or a stressful and financially crippling exercise … so don’t be afraid to ask questions until you are completely happy and satisfied before you commit to choosing your builder.

Longview Homes has locally owned franchises around the country. We always build to a fixed-price contract — so you know how much it’ll cost before we start. It would be our pleasure to take on your building project in any region in New Zealand once we move out of level 4.  

Get in touch with our team or call 0800 100 945 to start your new build journey today.


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