Building a new home can be a daunting experience, as there is a huge margin for error if you choose the wrong builder. The more information you can gather from your builder before signing contracts, the more likely you are to have a smooth, stress-free experience, as it should be!
In this series, we are going to take a look at the 15 questions you absolutely MUST ask any prospective home builder in Melbourne AUS BEFORE making one of the biggest decisions of your life.
Today, we take a look at the first five questions:
- How many years have you been in business, and how many homes have you built?
It takes years for a builder to have an understanding of good building practises and to be able to perform well, so ask your builder how long he has been in the business, and ask how many homes s/he has built.
- What type of warranty do you offer?
In Victoria Domestic building insurance is provided by a builder when the cost of building work is more than $16000. (Including labour and material costs).
A claim against the builder’s Warranty Insurance can only be made should the builder die, go bankrupt or otherwise cannot be found. The building insurance will cover costs of up to $300,000 to fix structural defects for six years, and non-structural defects for two years from 1st July 2014.
It is important that owners understand that the insurance policy is for the benefit of the purchaser, and that the registered builder will ensure that the building work complies with the relevant legislation at the time of construction.
What is equally important is to understand how your builder will perform when it comes to providing the service.
A builder who is not so happy to help is not what you want, especially when you have just spent a huge amount of money to build your dream home.
The best way to know whether your builder has a smiley face during the warranty period is to ask him/her to provide contact details of past clients so you can interview them. If your builder has happy clients, then you know he is doing something right.
- Can you give me references from your past clients? Will I be able to talk to your past clients?A quality Builder who produces beautiful homes should have a long, long list of clients who would be happy to sing their praises. If a builder cannot provide you with at least a couple of previous clients to call, this is a red flag. Call the clients on the list and don’t be shy in asking the important questions in order to obtain a truthful account of their experience.
- Are you a licensed builder? How can I check? Will your building company also do the construction?This may seem like obvious questions to ask, but any builder that you are considering to build your home should have a Victoria Building License.You may find Marketing Companies out there who act as builders by organising designs and specifications, providing a price to you and then palming you off to a builder whom you have never had dealings with before.
If you are planning to place a deposit with a builder, I would advise you to check that the builder is registered with the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) or a building authority within your state.
You can either call the VBA on 1300 815 127 or search on the VBA website. Just click on the following link – http://www.vba.vic.gov.au/ – and it will take you directly to the search page. Then, go to “Find a Practitioner” and fill out the required fields.
- Will there be any prime cost items and provisional allowances within the contract? What will they be?
Most building contracts include a provision for prime cost items and provisional sums.
A prime cost item is an allowance in the contract for the supply of necessary items not yet finally selected, for example taps or door furniture.
A provisional sum is an allowance in the contract for the cost of foreseeable necessary work, for example excavation, rock breaking or the need for drilling piers down to bedrock.
Ask your builder what prime cost items and provisional sums s/he will include within your building contract.