When you have decided to build your own home, then the most important decision would be choosing a builder who will have to bring your dream to life and this article will help you with tips for choosing the perfect builder.
Choosing a builder (or contractor) doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are tips to consider when choosing the perfect builder.
Research builders and suppliers.
Get referrals from friends and family who have gone through the construction process. Whether you get your builder by referral or your source from the industry, we recommend selecting a builder from the area of construction or one who has worked in that area before under similar circumstances. A builder with experience in similar projects, working on a similar site within the same area will offer the best expertise for your project.
Prepare your construction documents.
This is your project so make sure to have all the details about exactly what you wish to achieve. Write down your preferences regarding budget, the final look, timeline, and quality, and get your drawings together and all other relevant construction permits and licenses. Send a copy to your builder (or builders if you are using the bid process) to refer to when making a quote. Your goal is to give them all the information necessary to provide you with accurate cost and time estimates.
Study the quotes.
Measure management and business experience.
Apart from analyzing the quotes for prices, assess the builder’s management and business skills. An experienced builder will need to earn a profit and get a referral from your project, this means the material and labor prices will be reasonable, the communication skills will be professional and the technical prowess will be reflected in the quality of work.
Ask the builders to share photos of their previous projects. These photos should show a clean site, proper safety measures, an organized team, and neat work. Where possible, ask for contacts of occupants to talk to them about how satisfied they are with their projects. Most people will give you honest information to recommend a good builder and discourage a problematic one. If the builders cannot share the contact of their recent employers, ask them to drive you over to their houses or project sites to assess the quality of work preferably on a day and time when the owners are home, you may be able to get the owner’s opinions this way.
Good communication and reporting skills.
Choose a builder whose communication is professional and understandable. A good builder will serve you the technical and industrial jargon but comfortably communicate proper construction practice to get you the most appropriate work even when it doesn’t fit into your budget. As part of their submission, ask for the reporting and tracking documents to assess their attention to detail. A good builder should not simply roll over to contravene good engineering practice because you asked them. A good builder should have proper reporting skills detailing all construction activities, challenges, and delays and promptly share these reports with you. The communication should be two-way, both professional, and respectful for both parties to achieve the common goal.
Look critically at the pricing, as mentioned above, and make sure no item is left out. When items are overpriced or underpriced, concerning the BoQ, there is usually a misunderstanding of the details regarding this item. Request for clarification before you proceed.
Assess the technical expertise of the builder and team. The builder should know the construction methods and standards of that area, the challenges expected, and appropriate solutions. Assess the builder’s knowledge of the use of materials and equipment and the ability to check the quality of materials, equipment, and construction work. Where necessary, ask the builder to share the experience, and training details of the team together with all certifications and licenses.
The builder should be financially sound to take on the project and expect payments only as agreed. Do not hire a builder who will require payments more often than agreed or who cannot handle the financial needs of their team even when delays occur. Depending on how you plan to finance your build, the builder should take into consideration that funds may delay from time to time but the project should continue without hindrance for at least a reasonable duration.
Willing to work within your budget and timeline.
Choose a builder willing to stick to your timeline and budget. As the owner, you will from time to time change the specifications of the build, which may drive the price of some items up or you may take a while to make a decision and cause the timeline to shift, in both cases, the builder should be willing to accommodate these changes while trying to keep the build on track.
Ask the builder these questions.
Get a contract.
it is important to get a contract signed before work commences. This contract should have the BoQ, builders quote, timeline, and drawings as part of the supporting documents. This contract will protect you and the builder from unforeseen disagreements, changes, or delays that may strain your working relationship. Take the time to look through all the documents together with the builder and only sign what you feel is fair.