Forums / Property Investing / Help Needed! / Hiring a builder

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  • Profile photo of chanakyachanakya
    Participant
    @chanakya
    Join Date: 2012
    Post Count: 26

    I need help in questions to ask while hiring a builder.

    It all seems straight forward but I bet there are things that masters of this forum would suggest if not goes un noticed. 

    I will list a few:

    1, modification of plan .. cost involved

    2, add-ons 

    Thanks,

    cha

    Profile photo of jmsracheljmsrachel
    Participant
    @jmsrachel
    Join Date: 2012
    Post Count: 711

    First question – are you a licensed builder and what’s your practitioners number. Too many call themselves builders these days when they’re just Cowboys.

    Profile photo of FreckleFreckle
    Blocked
    @freckle
    Join Date: 2012
    Post Count: 1,681
    jmsrachel wrote:
    First question – are you a licensed builder and what's your practitioners number. Too many call themselves builders these days when they're just Cowboys.

    I think what he's asking is if he contracts a builder to price according to a set of plans and specs and then alters the plans or requests add-ons how do you go about pricing it.

    Chan when you contract a builder for a fixed price quote based on a set of plans and specifications he will be obliged to honor that agreement. Builders generally have standard rates for work carried out outside of the terms of the contract. So if you want to make a change to something you would request a price for the variation in the contract. Add-ons are the same. he would generally price these at a fixed hourly rate plus expenses.

    You would generally describe these things in a contract. That may simply include the wording; Changes to designs and/or specification including add-ons to be negotiated separately as required.

    Profile photo of jmsracheljmsrachel
    Participant
    @jmsrachel
    Join Date: 2012
    Post Count: 711

    Well said freckle. Builders make their cream on variations.

    Profile photo of oc1oc1
    Participant
    @oc1
    Join Date: 2012
    Post Count: 148

    Once you provide all information required to your builder there shouldn't be any variations. What you should establish from the outset is how your builder will treat any variations YOU CHOOSE to do during the build.

    Also, some builders deliberately keep the initial price low so that they can win your business but then slug you with variation after variation. I'd recommend taking someone with you that understands the process when the time comes to sign the contracts.

    Oscar

    Profile photo of SeanWilsonSeanWilson
    Participant
    @seanwilson
    Join Date: 2013
    Post Count: 26

    Many project builders make heaps of money off of their valuations.

    In our building trade we meet people who have a massively low profit margin (5-10%). In the building game a lot of the time it takes one annoying council rule to wipe out your profit, or one apprentice to do something wrong and it is all over.

    You will also note that when getting a builder in to do work for you, they are going to be pricing on the home ONLY. I cannot tell you how many times clients have come to us from places like Dixon and Metricon to get decks/patios/driveways ect, ect. put in because the builder did not do it. We have one customer who has their sliding doors locked upstairs so they do not fall through the non-existent upstairs deck.

    It is true many builders make their money off variations and customer ignorance.

    Another issue is that what you do before you even break ground can make or break your budget. Many project builders will get the client to talk to an architect separately, then price off the specs and plans. Problem with that is, the architect says one price and the builder says another… Then when you finally settle on that, you go to make an application with council/certifier and find there is a sewer running along the back boundary, and you are back to redesign and then re price!

    My no.1 tip for finding a builder: Find a one-stop shop. What you need is a builder who provides:

    3D visualisation

    Ability to make changes to plans/specs cost free

    ball-park figures with each change/update

    constant contact with council town planners/certifiers 

    fixed priced contracts

    soil test, engineer designs and energy efficiency

    has the honesty and courage to tell you if what you are doing is stupid/waste of money and offer you alternatives.

    If they don't give you this kind of service, run away. Project builders are a powerful tool but only when used correctly. It seems the only people who really know how are the big developers.

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