As builders ourselves, we know how intimidating the construction process can be. But with the right questions asked, you can feel more at ease knowing if you are in good hands. When in the process of building, never feel afraid to ask questions. In fact, asking questions is VITAL when building a new home. The more you know, the more confident you’ll feel, and with that, the easier the process is in terms of understanding of all that’s going on.
It’s imperative to partner with a professional house builder so that you’re both confident and reassured of your choices. Which is why we put together a list of questions to help jumpstart the process into feeling informed about your decisions to build; and to attest whether your chosen company is the right choice for you. Read the following guide to help you decide who to build with.
• What makes this Building Company different than the rest?
Check the home builders’ online profile or details of their recently finished new homes. Find out their mottos and what they stand for. Every reputable building company should live by their own mottos and guarantees. It’s how they gain their customers’ trust. Figure out what makes them different than other home builders and find out why you should choose them and not someone else. Read reviews of their previous clients and their testimonials. Getting to know your builder and everyone involved, gives you an idea of how they work and if you want to pursue building a home with them.
Also, going through the home builders’ online profile and having a look at the homes they’ve completed will help you visualise how your place might look after completion. This will give you an insight if they are who you would like to work with for your future home and if their style suits your visions.
• How long has this Building Company been in business for?
We all must start somewhere. Some companies may be brand new and finding their footing on the ground, while others have been around for decades. It’s best to always keep an open mind with either of them. The company that has been around for decades may seem like a wiser choice but have they built up their business by being honest and true? Or are they just that good at playing the game of builds?
Or maybe that company starting off may not be fully on its feet yet, but like a baby, they are learning to build homes and at the same time, also learning how to run their business properly. Beware of these newer builders who are learning to build homes as they try to establish themselves. They will be learning on the job when building your home, making the rookie mistakes that more experienced builders avoid. This inevitably leads to cost blowouts and poor outcomes for the finished home.
But again, research is essential when it comes to building a home. Find out everything you can about the company you plan to choose. The more you know, the more knowledgeable and aware you become when planning your future.
• Ask for examples of recent jobs or ask to visit the job site.
Most dedicated home builders in Sydney should allow potential clients to visit job sites by appointment to do a progress check. It can give you a lot of peace of mind to see work being completed at a good pace and to know your site supervisor has everything under control. Visiting a job site also gives you a look at what your home could potentially look like. It may help to visualize and create ideas into what you’d like to see in your future home and what to expect.
• Identify who the site supervisor will be and build rapport.
It’s good to have the details of the person handling your new home build. Having access to the site supervisor will help you get answers to any query that might crop up in your mind.
Site Supervisors work with strict deadlines and ensure you that your home is being built with safe protocols. They oversee everything and work closely with the tradespeople, engineers and other professionals to make your build come to life. They manage and put together a team to provide adequate and top-quality builds. They schedule to delivery of materials according to the progress of the build. They should monitor your construction build carefully and assess any problematic issues that may occur and when issues do arise, they should be working tirelessly to fix it to ensure that your home’s construction time frame does fall behind schedule.
As you’re building your home, your assigned site supervisor should contact you and introduce themselves. They are to go-to person you can be in touch with so that you have an idea of what’s occurring at every stage of the build. Its important to be on good terms with your site supervisor, a good supervisor will ensure that every stage of your home is built to a high standard. After all, you need to be able to trust the person responsible for the process of your build.
• Whom to contact after working hours?
Almost all the good questions pop up in your head after 5 pm. You go to call the office and OH NO, you find out they are closed for the day. Happens all the time. Especially after running errands, working, or running after kids, etc. Its best to write all these questions down and send off via email to your Project Coordinator to answer. For emergencies most builders usually will have an after-hours on-call person. Establish with your home builder who the person you can contact in an emergency is. If something should happen, and you urgently need to contact someone, it’s important to have that number in hand.
Also, make it a habit to jot down your questions on a piece of paper…or napkin, whatever is closest to you. It’s so easy to forget questions, and almost all good questions are forgettable, so paper and pen will save the day.
Or you could even write down every single question you have prior to your consultations. Preparation is key.
• What are the sustainability initiatives for your new home build?
Most dedicated Australian home builders will suggest solutions to keep the projects as environmentally friendly as possible. Speak to your building consultants and see what eco solutions you can find to make your home build more sustainable. Maybe it’s solar panels or maybe materials such as timber sourced from sustainable plantations. Design practices such as using waffle slabs also significantly reduce the amount of concrete required per home. Building and construction accounts for a huge percentage of global carbon emissions, so building companies who take active steps in reducing their carbon footprint should be considered over those that do not.
• How much flexibility will the company offer for their designs?
Don’t forget to ask how easily the home builder can customise their designs to suit your budget. Most companies will have pre-designed floorplans with set prices to choose from, making it easier for you to stick to your budget price.
Find out what the inclusions are and the available optional upgrades to see if your budget can accommodate those extra features you wanted. Maybe you want that mirrored wardrobe for your rooms or soft close doors and drawers for your kitchen. Or maybe you don’t really need that extra closet space or walk in pantry, will they be able to adjust the home’s design and cut those prices from your final build price?
Some companies even offer special inclusions that won’t raise the price of your build and provide great value for your money. Our 7 Star Luxury Inclusions provides many features and finishes that other builders will charge you extra for. Find out if the company you are planning to build with will allow changes to their floor plans and also if their inclusions are extensive or limited. Limited inclusions mean you’ll be paying more for nice features and may make your construction budget more difficult to manage.
• What are the backup plans for any unforeseen situations?
There’s always a possibility of your project being delayed due to unforeseen circumstances. It might include delays due to bad weather or supply chain issues. So, it’s good to know how your house builders in Sydney should be able to plan for exceptional circumstances. Should something happen during your home build, it is important to find out if the construction of your home will be delayed and if there will be any extra costs incurred by the delay.
This is where getting to know your site supervisor will come in handy, as they will be among the ones who will come up with a solution to any unforeseen situations. An established building company should have an experienced team with thousands of successful builds. Such a team will have the knowledge and expertise to devise the right solutions to issues should they occur. New builders do not have the depth of knowledge and experience to properly rectify problems and oftentimes will make the situation worse. Many of them resort to trickery and half-solutions to cover up for their mistakes and inexperience. The homes may pass the initial inspection be issue-free for some months or years, but problems from shoddy workmanship sometimes takes years to show up and the homeowner will be left to deal with this, long after the warranty period. Kaplan’s Lifetime Structural Guarantee and proven history protects our customers from this.
• Who are the supply partners?
When choosing out your interiors for your new home, it is almost always better to use trusted brands. Check who the companies are that will supply the cabinets, kitchen appliances, tapware, bench tops, flooring, cabinets, doors, windows and fixtures for your project. If you are unsure of the companies, ask your builder and do some research to find reviews and testimonials on their products. This will ensure peace of mind when it comes to your appliances and finishes. If they do not reach your expectations, then discuss the possibility of using your choice of brand with your builder. See how they can accommodate your requests, after all, this is one of the main joys of building a new home, you get to choose to put together your home the way you like.
• What about a structural guarantee?
The Australian Law makes it compulsory to cover a minimum of 6 years guarantee, as well as 60 days of service. Learn about your builders’ structural guarantees. Some companies may have up to a Lifetime Structural Guarantee, like us, while others may offer shorter periods of protection. Kaplan’s Lifetime Structural Guarantee is not an empty promise made up as a marketing point, it is offered through our insurance partner based on our excellent track record of building issue-free homes over many, many years. Our Lifetime Structural Guarantee protects your new home for as long as you own it, it can really be your forever home, could possibly be your grandkids home. Now isn’t that just a tearjerker; (grabbing a box of tissues).
• Is the quote all-inclusive?
Double-check whether the quoted price covers excavation cost (if you need levelling), site cost, price of soil removal, government, as well as council charges, structural guarantee, and capped build time.
Be aware of hidden costs. Some companies have tricky fine print or hidden and unknown charges. Some builders will try to charge extra for unknown and undetermined fees to their customers in the thousands of dollars after they have signed contracts. These are for essential items like removing excess excavated soils after excavating the site and after drilling piers or digging plumbing trenches. They can charge for additional concrete slab engineering or additional pier drilling as well. So be alert of the charges being made and find out if your quote is all-inclusive price.
Never be afraid to ask questions when it comes to your needs when building a home. For most of us, it’s the biggest investment decision of our lives. Ask your questions and do your research to ensure that your builder is one that you can really trust to look after you and your hard-earned money.