How to choose the right Builder for YOUR Home Improvement project

For most people, the single biggest investment that they make in their lives is buying their family home. For many, the next biggest investment is making home improvements to their primary asset – their family home. It stands to reason then, that selecting a Builder to undertake a major home renovation and alterations to their home is an important and considered decision that needs to be made carefully.

When renovations and additions are done to a high standard, the alterations will stand the test of time, and add value for many years to come. Some time in the future – if and when the time comes to sell – a quality home renovation will have increased the home’s resale value. Conversely, a poorly built home with poor quality finishes will degrade over time, and may cause unforeseen issues that are difficult or costly to fix further down the track if not done right the first time.

How do you select one Builder over another? What do you need to ask?

ALL Builders in WA are required to be registered, and have a nominated Supervisor listed on the Builders Register. This is regulated by the Western Australian Department of Building and Energy. You can check to see if a Builder is registered at their website. If a Builder that you are considering is not listed, immediately scratch their name from the list, do NOT proceed.

Who is your Site Supervisor?

Make a note of who is listed as the company’s nominated Supervisor? Is that the person who will be supervising your project? If you are not sure, you need to ask! If the nominated Supervisor for the company is not your Supervisor, you will need to ask if your Supervisor is a registered Builder. Ask how much experience do they have? A good Supervisor is the key to delivering a quality home renovation, and this is a critical question to ask.

Do not accept generic answers such as ‘all of our Supervisors are very experienced…or…don’t worry you will be in good hands’. If the Building Company cannot provide you with a specific name of your Site Supervisor, and you cannot verify that they are a registered Builder, proceed with extreme caution.

How many other projects will your Site Supervisor be responsible for at the same time as yours?

If your Supervisor is managing more than 5 projects at a time this would be cause for concern. In fact, it is not unheard of, for Site Supervisors at some building companies to be allocated more than 10-15 projects at a time. Often spread across large geographic areas, spreading as far from Joondalup to Mandurah.

This is an important factor in measuring your Supervisor’s effectiveness. Put simply, the more projects your Supervisor has, the less time he/she has for yours! At Amerex, we only take on a limited number of jobs at any one time, so that you can be assured that your project is front of mind, and closely supervised, at all times.

Is the Builder experienced with Home Improvement projects that are similar to yours?

Some Builders specialise in specific types of projects such as unit developments or granny flats. It is important to know whether they have experience with projects similar to yours – ask how many they have done in the past year or two. Ask if they are able to provide specific addresses or references for you to check. If you are embarking on a major Home Renovation, do you want a Builder that is experienced in unit developments? Seek a specialist renovation Builder to ensure you get the best in the field.

Is your Builder a member of professional bodies such as the Housing Industry Association (HIA)?

Organisations such as the HIA provide invaluable support and training to Builders. Membership with a professional body ensures that the Builder is up to date with any changes in the industry and is aware of any new or changed rules and regulations that they should be aware of.

Has your Builder won any Awards?

Some people will tell you that all Builders have awards and they are rubbish. Well that is just not true. The people saying this are most likely those that have not experienced any success in the awards!! Amerex have been involved with the HIA Awards programs for many years now, and can assure you that these are hotly contested and the competition to win awards is extremely tight.

The awards are independently judged by industry professionals, and a win in any category is fantastic industry level endorsement in an extremely competitive marketplace. Amerex has a swag of awards in our trophy cabinet, including the highly sought after and prestigious HIA WA Professional Small Builder and Renovator of the Year which we have won a record 5 times. No other Perth Builder has achieved this within this category.

Are you going to use the Builder to help you during the design process, or source your own Designer/Architect?

This is a personal choice, and Amerex are happy to work with you either way. The key advantage of using the Amerex in-house Home Extension Designer is the collaboration between the Designer and the Builder – Steve Burke – right from the start of your project sets up your project for success in many ways. For example, the cost to build is guaranteed to meet your budget expectations, and the design will not contain any elements that cannot be achieved. That said, Amerex has enjoyed some very successful partnerships with external Building Designers and Architects in the past, and welcomes the opportunity to quote on innovative designs.

How well does the Builder communicate with you?

Choose someone you think you can work well with. Strong communication skills and a good rapport will make the process much easier for you all the way through your renovation journey. Ask whether the people that you deal with during the sales and/or design process still be around during the build, or is the job passed on to others once you have signed the contract?

Ask about the accessibility of the Builder during construction.

If a problem arises, can you contact the Builder directly? Is your Builder authorised to make decisions or does this have to go thru a lengthy administrative process back at the office? Steve is readily available to clients on his mobile or via email (for less urgent matters), and the entire back office team are also on hand to help.