• Background Image

    32DegreesBuilding

November 8, 2018

What to look for when choosing your builder

You’re in the market for a renovation or addition on your home, but where can you find a builder that is reliable, will minimise the disruption to your family and deliver maximum quality on your investment that will stand the test of time? 

You may have been referred to builders by people you trust, however that doesn’t necessarily mean that the builder will be trustworthy. So who do you contact and what should you look out for when contemplating taking the first steps on your building journey? We’ve put together a list of things you should consider when making your decision to select a builder; 

1. Do they specialise in your type of build?

You might assume this is obvious, however, it’s vital to ensure that the builder you choose is well-established and reputable. Search for a builder who has experience in the type and style of build you are looking for and see if they are able to provide references for a number of jobs they have completed.

Always do your research – look at their website, social media pages and online presence. Are their projects active and up to date? Can you see samples of their work? How long have they been operating for?

2. Do they belong to a builder’s association?

Builders that have a professional membership in the industry eg. Housing Industry Association (HIA) and Master Builders Association (MBA) participate in continuing education and stay up to date with best practices, new technology and innovations within the field. This ultimately means that these builders will use the newest and correct practices when constructing your home.

3. Are they licenced and insured?

A good indicator of a high-quality builder is one that’s fully licenced and
insured – and that they can provide you with those details upon request.
It’s vital for you and your builder to be protected and insured in the event
that something goes wrong.

Examples of insurance that may be required by the builder are;

  • Public Liability Insurance
  • Workers Compensation Insurance
  • Contract of Works Insurance and;
  • Home Warranty Insurance (for all builds over $20K)

You can do a licence check of your builder through the Fair-Trading website, however, we also recommend that you request a copy of their insurances before engaging with them to ensure your family and your investment are protected.

4. Are they able to provide client testimonials or reviews?

The sign of a reputable and successful builder is one that is able to provide
a list of client references from the past, most recent and from those currently going
through the building process with them. This is a good indication that they have been
delivering high-quality service to their clients consistently throughout their years in business.

5. Is there clear communication from the beginning?

Good builders are responsive right from the beginning of your interaction with them. This shows that they invest in their team to ensure that customers and their experience is at the forefront of their business. A builder and their team should be available to communicate with you throughout the project, even after practical completion.

6. The cheapest quote may not result in a quality build

Be wary of going with the cheapest estimate a builder may put in front of you. When searching for a builder ensure you are making as direct a comparison as possible. It is always important to compare apples for apples; a higher quoted price may result in less unforeseen costs and expenses. By choosing a significantly cheaper quote be aware that you can run the risk of finding out halfway through your build that you have been underquoted and the builder is unable to fulfil your project, leaving you stranded and stressed, putting a strain on the family and your investment.

7. Do they offer fixed priced contracts?

Beware of quotations and contracts with a long list of ‘estimates’ and ‘TBA’s’. To avoid a blow-out in costs which could end up exceeding your budget or not being to afford to complete your build, ask for a fixed price contract.

There will be items that a builder cannot foresee such as soil removal, asbestos removal and termite damage, however, the builder should be upfront and discuss these items with you during the planning process. This allows you to properly plan things and have a contingency plan in place. 

8. How does the builder operate?

Does the builder utilise sub-contractors to complete your build or do they employ their own team? A benefit of choosing a builder that employs their own tradespeople to complete your build is that they invest in the proper training and management of their team. This also means that they have greater control of the quality and the speed of the build as they will be coordinating the trades across their builds. By limiting the number of sub-contractors being used, your builder can ensure that you know who is working at your home, giving you peace of mind that your family is safe and secure and that disruption is kept to a minimal.

At 32 Degrees Building, we specialise in additions, extensions and renovations. We believe in putting the clients first and have a support team there for you during your build to address any of your concerns throughout the process. We are licenced, fully insured and are more than happy to provide you with references from our clients, past, recent and in progress if you would like to discuss their building experience.

If you have any questions surrounding your future renovation or addition on your home, call the team. We are available to talk to you and run through all of the details with you.

 

July 18, 2016

Building in a bushfire prone area

We recently completed an extension and deck in Orangeville that was in a bushfire prone area and had to comply with BAL-FZ requirements. For those of you that are unfamiliar with being in a bushfire prone area, BAL-FZ means that the home has been classed as being located in direct flame zone and that there is an extreme risk to life and loss of the home should a bushfire occur.

Bushfire ratings are as follows;

  • BAL-Low (Very Low Risk)
  • BAL-12.5 (Low Risk)
  • BAL-19 (Moderate Risk)
  • BAL-29 (High Risk)
  • BAL-40 (Very High Risk)
  • BAL-FZ (Extreme Risk)

The BAL rating may determine the types of materials you are able to use or, additional materials that are required when building or extending your home (eg. bushfire shutters).

What measures should you take?

If your property backs onto bushland or even a Council nature strip you will have to obtain a BAL Risk Assessment Certificate from a qualified consultant to determine your Bushfire Attack Level. The report will outline the BAL rating on each elevation (yes, your BAL rating can be different on each side of your home) and advise you of the measures you need to take to maximise the safety of your family and your home and ensure you stay protected.

Building in a bushfire prone area: flamezone

The home in Orangeville was classed as BAL-FZ as it was in a location where it was deemed an extreme risk to bushfire so there were a few requirements that we had to ensure that we undertook when building this extension to comply with the RFS and Council requirements;

  • The deck was constructed with a cement based product with no gaps between the boards for embers to get into
  • The subfloor brickwork still has to have ventilation, and so a metal gauze with no more than a 2mm aperture was used to cover the weep holes and stop embers from getting in under the home.
  • The cladding we used was a minimum of 6mm thick with no gaps between the boards.
  • The windows were made with 6mm toughened glass and aluminium frames
  • Bushfire shutters were installed – you can have either manual or automatic
  • The roof and deck frames were made of steel
  • For the eaves we used firecheq plasterboard  and importantly we ensured that all gaps and holes were sealed to stop potential embers getting into

If you are in a bushfire prone area and thinking of building an extension or addition, speak to us, we are able to provide you with advice and guide you in the right direction.

Watch our video

Watch Alistair, the builder out at the deck extension in Orangeville talking about how we met the BAL-FZ requirements.

Share