When it comes time to pick the builder for your new build or renovations, there are plenty to choose from. My Neighbourhood Builder aims to make this process a little easier by providing you with up to 6 builders who service your local area. This way you know you’re getting a builder who is familiar with the local council rules. The important thing is to pick the right builder for you and your project. Each builder will have their specialties and types of projects that they take on. It is important to take your time when picking your builder and find someone that ticks all your boxes. Check out below our handy tips on how to pick the right builder for you.
One of the first things you should look for is a builder who has experience in similar projects. Someone who understands what it is that you want done and has completed projects similar to it in the past. By having experience in the same area it means you are more likely to receive an above standard and professional job. Rather than choosing someone who has not done anything similar and is going in somewhat blind.
Once you have a few builders that you are considering for the job, take the time to look at reviews that they have received online. By reading about the experiences that other people have had with them, it will help you to shape a picture on the builder, their work ethic and the quality of their work. Positive reviews can help make a big difference when choosing who you want to complete your build or renovation.
A big positive when choosing your builder is finding someone that you can communicate well with and trust with completing the job. If you are not able to communicate with them, it can cause added stress throughout the build. Delays on different parts if information is not passed on. And it can cause arguments and frustration from both parties.
You will be able to tell rather quickly whether or not the trust and communication is there between the two of you. Pretty much from the first point of contact and whether they are willing to speak to you and answer your questions from the beginning.
Quoting and price
Now, the cheaper builder isn’t always the best choice. And the most expensive builder doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to get the best quality work. A builder who takes the time to come out and quote you on the project and then has the time to explain the quote to you and answer any questions that you have, is someone worth considering.
The price of the project of course is going to play a part in who you choose to go with. It needs to be someone that is within your budget. Just make sure you do not simply go with the lowest price because it means more money in your pocket. If you do go with the lowest, go with it because you believe they are the best builder for the job.
One of the most important things to check when picking your builder is that they are certified and able to complete the works under their licence. Different trades people are allowed to undertake different tasks and projects. Being a builder does not automatically mean that they are able to complete everything that is connected to the build. If plumbing or electrical work is required ensure that they are either licenced to do the work or that they have organised the correctly licenced trades person to come in and complete those works.
Take the time to speak to a couple of different builders before picking the one that you want to go with. Word of mouth and referrals from friends and family come in handy. But still do your own research and pick someone based on your own preference.
Check their certifications and licences before agreeing to any works being done. And make sure you see a written quote that is signed before they begin the work.
Once you find your builder, you should be able to trust and communicate with them throughout the whole project. They are there to make things easier for you and should be willing to accommodate you and your needs.
Head on over to our directory to find builders in your local government area
When you receive a quote, what is the first thing you look at? My bet is that you look at the price. Which of course is a very big part of the quote. Knowing whether or not you are going to be able to afford something is crucial. However what else do you take into consideration when looking at your quotes? There is a lot more than just price that you need to consider when receiving quotes. The cheapest quote may look appealing and suit your budget the best. But will it be the best choice? The most expensive quote, may not necessarily mean the best quality.
So what else should you compare and consider before agreeing to a quote?
Quality of work
If you have received quotes off a number of different builders, it is important to compare more than just their price. The quality of work that you are going to receive plays the most important part. You do not want to spend a lot of money to receive something you are not happy with, or that shows poor quality and workmanship.
Have a look at the different builders websites, social media pages and work that they have completed previously. This can help you to see what their quality and workmanship is like before agreeing to a quote.
Another great way to help you compare quotes is by getting recommendations from family and friends. By asking around and getting an idea of who others have been happy with, it will help you to see who are the more professional builders and who is providing the community with quality work. It also works for who you should avoid. If you have several people all suggesting to stay away from a particular builder, then it might be time to put their quote aside.
Another important thing to consider is the materials that the builders have said they will use. There are many different materials on the market, depending on what you are having done. Your quote should detail the materials that they are looking at using. If they are subpar materials that are not going to last or do not look quality, then this could reflect why their quote is lower than others.
High quality materials will attract a higher cost, however they are also more likely to last and look good in the home for longer.
If you are unsure on the different materials and what is being used, ask your builder. They should be happy to discuss it all with you and help you to understand what they are using and why,
Another important thing to consider and compare when looking at your quotes is the communication with the builder. Are you able to talk to them and ask them questions? Are they willing to help you understand the process and what is involved?
Communication is a key component between the builder and home owner. Without communication it can cause delays, errors and an unhealthy working environment.
If you are finding it hard to communicate with a builder who has provided you a quote, do you think it will get easier once you accept it?
As you can see, price is only one factor that you need to consider when engaging a builder. Take the time to look at each quote and all the factors surrounding it.
Renovations or new builds are expensive, time consuming and at times stressful. You want to make sure that you choose the right builder from the beginning. Someone who understands you and what you want to achieve. Who can communicate with you. And that can provide you with a professional and quality service throughout the entire build.
Remember that your budget still needs to be set and the quote needs to be within this. But that doesn’t mean going with the cheapest one to keep the most money in your pocket. Doing that may actually backfire and result in you having to pay a lot more, especially if you need to engage someone else to come in and fix things or redo it a few years down the track.
Take your time and choose wisely. Check out the builders in our directory who all come highly recommended.
As boring as it may sound, planning is one of the most important steps of a new build or renovation. Planning ahead and knowing what is going to happen at different stages of the build will help you to stay organised, within budget and hopefully within the time frames that have been laid out. Not everything will always go to plan and there may be shifting and changing that needs to be done throughout. However having a plan in place that both yourself and the builders agree on, will help try and keep it running smoothly. So what things should you plan ahead with?
When you engage a builder to assist you with your renovations, they will be able to give you an idea on how long the job should take to complete. Depending on the amount of work needing to be done and the complexity of it, this could take weeks or months. There may be different trades people that need to come in throughout the build and they may need to come in a special order. For example, there is no point the painters coming in and painting the walls if there is still work needing to be done to the floors.
The builders should give you an estimated timeframe and timeline of what will be completed and when. This will help you to organise your home and life around it as well. There may be times when you need to be in the home and times when you need to vacate.
If something occurs that causes the timeframe to be delayed, speak with your builder and see what can be done to potentially bring it back up to speed. If it is not able to be done, discuss what the new potential finish date will be.
Budgets are something that everyone who is renovating or building needs to keep an eye on. Even if you have received a quote and approved that quote, there may be times when something happens which results in you having to pay more. It could be that the initial materials that you wanted were not available. Or you may have changed your mind on different finishes for parts of the renovation. If extra trades are needed such as plumbing or electrical and these were not initially needed – this may also cause you to go over budget.
It is always a good idea to set your budget at a comfortable amount, but still have a float amount above that available. This way, if you do accidentally go over budget you have enough funds to cover it.
A budget should not be the full amount that you are willing to spend. It should be a little less than what you want to spend, so you have that back up available.
Your builder should discuss with you before adding extra charges and have them approved by you. This way, they are not completing additional work with the risk of you not being able to pay.
A cost overrun is when the cost of a project becomes more than the estimated or quoted cost. This can happen for a number of different reasons including not quoting correctly and changes to the scope of work.
If your builder has underquoted, than they should discuss with you the options and how to proceed.
Having signed a contract and quote for the amount that you agreed to, they can not force you to pay any extra. However if it is a lot of money and results in them working for a loss, there is the chance that they decide to end the project early.
If it happens due to you wanting to change or add to the project, than you are liable for these costs.
With the timeframes, budgets and potential overruns, make sure you are communicating with your builder throughout. It will be a lot easier process if you are both able to discuss your concerns and the project at hand. If you are struggling with staying within budget, talk to them about things that you may be able to remove from the project or discuss a payment plan.
Both you and your builder want a stress free time and it can be possible with the correct communication and planning.
If you are still looking for a build or tradie in your area then head over to our directory to find one that comes highly recommended. For those who require finance for their renovation then have a chat to Vital Finance Group
Council approvals required for renovations can be a maze. Where do you look to find the right info? Making large changes to your home including renovations of existing buildings or extensions is an exciting development. Whether it is because your family is growing or simply because you would like a fresh new look to the home, it still comes with a process that needs to be followed. Even though your home is yours, you are still required to get council approval for various changes that you want to make.
There is a process that you need to do through with the builders and council to ensure everything is completed legally and correctly.
What do I need approval for?
Generally internal renovations do not require council approval. This is providing that there is no structural changes being made. If structural changes are required, then it is possible that you need to inform the council prior to beginning.
For external renovations including making structural changes, adding or removing parts of the home or extending the home to a second storey – you need to seek council approval prior to commencing.
Anything that requires extensive excavation or filling or the addition of a new dwelling (such as a granny flat) will also require approval.
How do I find out if I need Council approval?
It is best to always contact your local council yourself to get the right answer. Advice from friends, neighbours or contractors may be outdated and incorrect. Rather than assuming that you do not need approval based on the word of someone else, find out for sure yourself.
Each local council have their own rules and regulations around building on residential property and as such you need to get in contact with your council.
The councils all have their own websites which you can visit to find out about the approvals required. It is also a good idea to then either visit or phone your local council and speak to someone about it. Having verbal confirmation from a council member will help. You will be educated on what you need to provide, the application process and length of time it may take for approval.
What does the process look like?
Once you have confirmation that your renovations need approval, you will be able to get started on the application. The council will be able to provide you with the details of what you will need to provide with your application including documentation, payment of fees and a copy of the plans.
Once you have confirmed these details with the council, the process can begin. The first step will be to have a qualified draftsmen or architect draw up the plans for your renovations and changes to be made.
Once the plans are completed, they need to be certified by a Building Certifier. This is to ensure that they comply with the Building Code of Australia.
With the certified plans, you are then able to submit your application to council, along with any other supporting documents that they may ask for.
There may be times throughout the process that the council member requests additional documents or information in order to complete the application.
You will also need to appoint a Principal Certifying Authority. In many cases, this will be the same person who certified your plans in the beginning. They are responsible for signing off that the renovations have been completed as per the approved plan.
What happens while we wait for approval?
The application process can be length and can take months to come through. It is important to stay patient and communication with your assigned council member. Unfortunately until the approval comes through, you are unable to commence any of the work that is a part of the application.
Once you do receive the approval, sticking to the plans is also important. Making changes means that you then need to seek amended approval which can both delay the construction and cost you a lot of unnecessary money.
If you are unsure on what requires approval. Or want to get the process started. The best place to start is your local council website. There will be both fact sheets and FAQs that you can refer to. If you are still unsure, give them a call and get confirmation.
Your builders will have a strong understanding of what is required and the process, however knowing yourself as well and being informed and educated will keep you protected.
Happy building! If you still need to find a builder, head over to our directory to find one in your local area
If you are toying with the ideas of building a new home, having renovations made to your existing home or having a new dwelling added to your property there are a number of things to consider. One of the big things that comes up with the payments and how much it is going to cost. There is a process that most builders follow to some degree, that helps keep it all organised and transparent for both parties. This way you know from the beginning what to expect throughout the build and the builder themselves are also covered throughout. Check out below the payment process and what the builder will expect.
The first step is that the builder should come out and find out exactly what it is that you are wanting to get done. Once they have taken all the information, measurements and requirements that you have, they will put together a detailed quote for you.
This quote will provide you with a layout of everything that is to happen through the build and the costs involved.
Once you have gone through the quote and are happy with it, it can be approved. An approved quote and contract should be drawn up and signed by both parties.
Once you have signed your contract and are ready to get started, a deposit is normally required.
This deposit is to secure your project and ensure that any materials that the builder needs to purchase to begin the project can be purchased. The deposit is normally non refundable. So if you decide after paying the deposit that you no longer want to proceed, you will loose these funds. So ensure you are 100% sure that you want to go ahead before signing and paying.
There are requirements and restrictions on the amount that a builder can ask for as an upfront deposit. Normally 10% – 20% of the total cost is the amount requested as a deposit.
Depending on the size of your project, it may be written into your contract that progress payments are required at different stages.
These can be to cover materials that need to be purchased or as security if the project is a large one that takes both a long time and costs a large amount of money.
The details of your progress payments will be detailed in your contract that you sign. Ensure that you read over it fully and are aware of when you will need to take payments.
Progress payments can not be charged to the full amount of the job. There needs to be at least 10% of the final amount that is due on completion of the project.
Once the renovation or new build is completed than it is time for the final payment.
Before making the final payment, it is important to do a check of the renovations and ensure that everything is completed and that you are happy with it all.
If there are any concerns that you have, it is important to raise them with the builder before accepting the handover and making the final payment.
Communication is important and the more you speak with them, the quicker things can be rectified.
It is important to remember that you builders are still human and still have families at home to feed.
So if you agree to a quote and sign a contract, stick to the payment terms and make payments when required. They are working hard to complete this for you and deserve to be paid on time.
Check the invoice for their payment terms and if you are unable to make payment within the time frame, speak to them as soon as possible to discuss your options.
Non payment can result in your renovations being delayed, legal action being taken and the builders refusing to finish the job.
Work together and communicate well and you should have no issues with the project progressing and being completed.
Remember, you wouldn’t like it if you went to work for a week and then your employer decided that they didn’t want to pay you on time.
If you need to arrange finance for your renovations please speak to Vital Finance Group to see how they might be able to assist you.
Also head over to our directory to find a builder in your area if you are still looking for one.
Once you have the layout and design of your renovation approved and ready to get started, the next thing you need to look at is your colour palette. Choosing the colours for your new renovation can be a lot of fun. Looking at all the different colours available (who would have thought there were so many shades of white!) Colours are not just for the colours of the walls either. You need to look at the different appliances and structures within the room including benchtops and cupboards. As it is your renovation, you are also responsible for choosing the colours of these as well. But how do you choose the colours?
Look at different inspirations
One way to help you choose the colours for your new renovation is by jumping online and checking out different designs. You will be able to see hundreds of different styles, designs and colour matches to help you decide on what is going to work for you.
You can also visit paint stores and look at their sample swatches to get an idea of how the different colours look in different light. Remember anything you see online can be altered or edited to look brighter or darker depending on what they are trying to achieve with the image.
Think about your personality
If you are renovating your home, it is only natural to want a piece of your personality though out the home. This can be achieved through your colour palette. It may be that you end up with a feature wall or a splash back in your favourite colour. Or a different paint technique to showcase a quirky side. When choosing your colours, it should be something that makes you feel happy, comfortable and wanting to be in the newly renovated space.
Look at what is in style
There are timeless classics when it comes to interior design and style. And then there are also the current trends that come and go. Look at what is currently in style and see whether this is a fit for you and your home. Also look at the classics and see if they would be better suited.
Match to the rest of the home
Before you go ahead and make a bold statement with your newly renovated space, look at the rest of the home for inspiration when choosing your colour palette. Although it is a new space within the home, it is still important to make it feel like home. This means that by matching it in with the rest of the home, you will feel comfortable and secure within it. This could mean giving the whole home a new paint job – if you aren’t happy with the existing colours. Or matching the new space with the older parts of the dwelling.
Choose something that will last
The last thing you want to do is repaint or change bench tops in 3 years time because the colours you chose have become outdated and you are no longer happy with them. Going with neutral or natural colours will help them to stay classic and dated. Where as bright and bold colours may become outdated and out of style a lot quicker. Your new space should make you feel happy and content for years to come.
There are a lot of different variables when it comes to choosing your colour palette. Getting sample paint and sample materials in your chosen colours means that you can take them home and trial them out on different parts of the walls and countertops before committing to them. This can help you to be 100% sure on your choice before investing in the supplies or confirming with your builders.
Enjoy the process of choosing your colour palette. Get the whole family involved and discuss what every likes and doesn’t like. If you are renovating childrens rooms, let them have a say (within reason of course) on the colours. The more they like their room, the more chance that they stay in it overnight 😉
If you’re looking for a painter head across to our tradie directory to find one in your local area
What other tips do you have for choosing the colours for your reno?