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Home Renovations and Maintenance - What You Need to Know

Admit it, the most frustrating thing about using any building services company or contractor is their poor workmanship and unreliability

How many times have you arranged to be at home to meet tradesmen only to find they never kept the appointment? Worse still, they didn't ring to say they wouldn't be attending or that they have been delayed. If they can't keep the very first appointment, then chances are they are not reputable.

Follow these tips from the HIA (Housing Industry Association) and find the right builder or tradesperson for your job.

Choosing your builder or tradesperson is an important decision. If you pick a skilled craftsperson who is properly qualified to do the job it will make your renovation experience stress-free and exciting. But hire an unlicensed or unskilled "handyman" and your housing project will be stressful.

That’s why it is important to do your homework. Keep the following in mind as you select a builder or tradesperson.

• Create a list of builders or tradespeople you would consider using. Ask your friends and family for recommendations.

• Ask these builders or tradespeople where you can see recent examples of their work and speak to the people who engaged them. Was the quality of the work up to scratch? Was it completed on time? Was the builder or tradesperson easy to work with?

• Narrow your list down to 3 builders or tradespeople. Supply all of them with exactly the same set of requirements and ask each of them for an estimate. Read each estimate carefully to ensure nothing has been left out and watch for unrealistically low estimations as you may be the victim of a blow out of the budget later down the track. Keep in mind that it’s worth paying more for a reputable builder or tradesperson who will take pride in his or her work.

• It is absolutely essential. To make sure your builder or tradesperson is properly qualified for the type of work you want done. It is illegal for a builder or tradesperson to do residential construction without a proper license.

• Your builder or tradesperson will not be an invisible presence during your renovation he or she will be an active member of your household, perhaps for months on end. So ask yourself, ‘Can I live with this man or woman in my house?’ If the answer is no, it may be advisable to look for a more compatible partner.

• Many states require a builder to have home warranty insurance to protect the consumer.

• A Builder or tradesperson who has home warranty insurance for domestic projects over $20,000 (as at 1 February 2012) will have no restrictions on his/her license, which should always be produced at the time of a first meeting.

• A builder or tradesperson who does not have home warranty insurance for domestic projects over $20,000 will have this displayed on his/her license. You should view the license at the very first meeting.

• If a builder or tradesperson is pressuring you to sign a contract to avoid ‘price rises’ he or she is probably just trying to secure the job. So to be extra careful of any builder who wants you to get an owner-builder license he or she may not have the right kind of license for your work or he or she may be unable to obtain home warranty insurance.

You should ask your builder or tradesperson these important questions:

  1. Are you properly licensed? (This varies according to state laws).
  2. Where can I see examples of your work?
  3. What other jobs have you got on at the moment? A contractor with a lot of work on their plate may not be able to properly manage your job.
  4. Who will supervise the work? If your contractor is using a supervisor, make sure the supervisor has sufficient experience in the type of work you want done.
  5. Do you have proper insurance?
  6. How much money do you need for your deposit?
  7. When can you start the work and how long will it take?
  8. What sort of contract will be used?
  9. How much will it cost?
  10. When are progress payments to be made?
  11. What happens if the work is defective?
  12. Who cleans the site?
  13. Do they have the appropriate Builders Warranty insurance to cover any workmanship defects? You would be surprised at how hard it is to obtain Builders Warranty Insurance now for jobs greater than $20,000.

What to expect from Building Works Australia:

WE ALWAYS TRY OUR BEST. We don’t like to let our clients down so we have fundamental rules that we try to follow:

• We always turn up for our appointments.

• If we are likely to be late we try and call to explain the situation.

• Our Licensed Building Advisor (Mr Brian Babbidge) who is a licensed in NSW and QLD, with over 40 years experience, so the person who comes to see you is your project coordinator. He is there to provide you with the most practical and best solution he can and will oversee your project to completion.

• We are not the cheapest supplier.

•We offer value for money and reliability.

• To us, your peace of mind is paramount.

• It costs money and affects our reputation to fix up problems so we try hard to avoid this happening.

• It was viewed on an Television Program recently, the following regarding building works:
BUILDING WORK- on new homes, additions and renovations.
Diane Beamer explains the main problems are “Building work that is shoddy, building work that is downright dangerous as well”.

• We prepare a detailed fixed price estimate without hidden extras. In excess of 60% of our clients use our service again which proves that we are getting it right.

So when you contract to use Building Works Australia you are using a company that is professional in every way.

Your peace of mind is important to you, because if you like using us, you will refer us to your friends, and if you are happy to do that, then we have delivered everything we promised.

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