Essential questions to ask a builder
Asking questions are part and parcel of building a home. Reputable builders will usually serve you the information you need, but double- or triple-checking hurts nobody! Asking and getting your answers early on can save you time, effort and money down the line. We've outlined a few essential questions you should be asking when building a home.
Administration Questions - Licensing, Insurance, Warranties, Communication, Timeline
Are you a licensed and registered builder?
Partnering with a licensed builder guarantees that your home will be built according to the national building standards prescribed by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB). This means they have the relevant qualifications and experience to build your home.
If you want to verify a license after posing the question, go to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Online License Search to see a summary of a builder’s work history.
Are you insured? What kind of warranty do you provide?
Any residential building work done in Queensland valued over $3,300 must have home warranty insurance. They include this in contracts to protect you in dire circumstances such as when the builder can’t complete nor rectify the work.
Further to this, a statutory Defects Liability Period requires builders to rectify and/or reinstate items which may have been defective because of building movement or settling. This may be claimed 12 months after the Practical Completion Inspection (PCI).
Don’t forget to ask about any post-build guarantees! For instance, Plantation Homes offers a 50-year structural guarantee to protect your home from structural defects for 50 years after your PCI.
Do you have display homes?
Display homes are a testament to a builder’s work. Visiting one can help inspire and visualise what your future home could look like - creating an immersive experience that allows you to gauge if the builder is a good fit for the type of home you aspire for.
Who will I be in contact with? How often should I expect communications?
Set expectations and boundaries with your builder sooner than later.
Ask questions such as:
How often will you be kept in the loop during the building process?
Can you get the direct contact number of your site/project manager/supervisor?
Who do you escalate to in case of an issue or emergency?
How long will construction take? What is the latest date to make changes?
The timeline can vary based on how long it takes to finish each stage of the building process. If you’re in direct contact with your builder, ask them for updates at every stage so you know exactly when to start preparing for your move date.
Are you integrating passive solar design principles into the build?
Sustainability is a priority for many homebuyers as it can save them big bucks in the long run while increasing the resale value of the home. Ask your builder about home orientation, double-glazed windows, solar panels, rainwater tanks, and eaves. Getting their advice early can help you prioritise which sustainable practices and installations you can pursue in the short term and long term.
Costs and Inclusions
What’s included in the build/contract?
Contract inclusions and exclusions vary per builder. Make sure to cover all bases before signing a contract to avoid paying for costs you hadn’t accounted for in the beginning. You’d want the list as extensive as possible to outline what you’re getting from the living room down to the bathrooms. Watch out for fees associated with the government/council, driveways, curtains/blinds, fencing, and even asbestos removal, to name a few.
Remember, there are no right or wrong questions. Use the questions above as starting points, but keep asking as you go. Building a home is a massive investment and the best thing you can do is educate yourself and do thorough research.
Want to start asking questions? Shoot us a query or contact us at (07) 3290 8888.