Building a new home can be a daunting task. If you have never built a new home before you should not be shy to ask your builder lots of questions. If you don’t ask you will never know and you may regret it later. We have compiled a short list of some of questions that you should ask your builder before signing a building contract:
If you don’t already know make sure you find out and check out the homes that your builder has on display.
Make sure your builder is licensed and provides you with a Certificate of Currency for Home Indemnity Insurance before you sign the building contract. This is known as Home Building Compensation Fund (HBCF) Certificate in NSW (formerly Home Owners Warranty Insurance). This certificate will cover you for financial loss in the unlikely event that your builder becomes insolvent. Make sure the builder named on the certificate is the same as the one you have contracted to build with.
Also make sure your builder has worker’s compensation and general public liability insurance. Whilst all reputable builders will be licensed and will have the relevant insurances in place, there is no harm asking and checking for your own peace of mind.
Make sure your builder is well established and knows exactly what they are doing. Some may even have industry awards for design, construction and consumer satisfaction.
Whilst this question is important myBuildcompare only compares the best builders in NSW to make the building process easier for you.
When it comes to payments make sure everyone is on the same page. Avoid paying large amounts upfront. Progress payments should be made after certain milestones are met (e.g. laying of the slab and frames being put up) and only if the work is to your satisfaction.
Again, make sure everyone is one the same page. You don’t want any hidden surprises. However when building a new home it’s a good idea to be ready to expect the unexpected.
For example, your builder may experience a site issue, which may require more work or the floor plans to be amended. Ask your builder up-front how this will be managed early on.
Find out who your construction supervisor will be and if you can try and meet them before construction starts. It’s a good idea to build up a positive relationship with your construction supervisor early on as they will become your main point of contact for a large chunk of the build process.
Your builder should be able to provide you with an estimated timeframe for the completion of your new home. However unpredictable wet weather and the shortage of building supplies can often delay the building process.
After construction has been completed builders will offer a defects period in which you will have the opportunity to provide your builder with a list of defects in your property. Generally a defects period will last between three and six months, but make sure you clarify this with your builder. In saying this, NSW laws provide a statutory warranty for structural defects up to 6 years from the date of completion and minor defects up to 2 years. Remember to keep this one up your sleeve.
It may seem like a simple question but often gets missed. Builders may be reluctant to build in areas where they have to travel long distances. Also, they may not be familiar with the covenants and restrictions that apply to that particular estate. Use a builder that has built in the area before to avoid any dramas.
This can be one of the most important questions to ask your builder. You will be surprised what is and what isn’t included and therefore it’s a good idea to be upfront and ask your builder.
However we have made the process easier for you. Use our handy ‘compare’ function to compare what is and what isn’t included in the base price side by side.
Any reputable builder will be working on multiple builds at the same time, but too many jobs may mean that your build gets neglected or delayed. On the other hand, if your builder does not have enough jobs you should ask why.
Lastly make sure you do some background research on your builder and read the reviews of those who have previously built with them to help to you make an informed decision.
Also check out the NSW Fair Trading website for further information on what to ask your builder.