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Article on Choose your builder carefully by adam

Choose your builder carefully

Adam Weaver

Talk to your builder

It sounds obvious, but not all builders are the same; most are highly skilled, experienced, and competent, and some are ... not.

Sadly, in insurance we hear horror stories more often than not; usually when it's too late to do anything about the choice of builder.

Ask questions

Are you a licensed builder?

Quite a few "builders" are actually carpenters and other trades, and whilst they may have loads of experience in the particular trade, are less experienced in budgetting and time management skills.

For how long have you had your licence? 

Do you have any completed projects we can view? Any client references?

Don't be embarrassed to ask, you'd think that a good builder would be proud of his past work and his past clients would give him a good review.

What other work do you have on the go?

Realistically, most builders will be working on more than one job at any one time. On one hand that could be a good thing (the builder is in demand!) but if the other job takes up too much time then your project could be left languishing. 

Check insurances

Do you have insurance? Home warranty? Public liability? Workers compensation?

Whilst it's tempting to think that an answer of "I'm fully insured" is sufficient, each type of insurance is different from the others, and is required by your builder.

  • Home Warranty covers the risk of the builder going bankrupt (or disappearing) and leaving the project unfinished, or if faults are discovered in the work.
  • Public Liability covers the risk of injury or damage to others; it insures the builder for any compensation payable to the injured party.
  • Workers Compensation covers statutory responsibilities to deemed workers (usually sole trader contractors) or employees of the builder.

NB: These insurances are all readily available to builders, and you as the owner builder absolutely cannot buy them on the builder's behalf. If your builder says that he can't buy them himself, warning bells should start ringing very very loudly.

Talk realistically

This tip might sound odd, but we'd encourage you to just talk to your builder as a building professional. Ask if he has any advice or tips for you, or if he has any concerns about the project, your timelines, or budget. 

Professionals are usually keen to share their wisdom, and usually like nothing more than engaging with serious and involved owners. 

Get your own insurance

Even though your builder will have his own insurance, you absolutely need your own insurance as well. The builder's insurance covers the builder, it doesn't cover you, or your own responsibility towards your own project.

We specialise in owner builder insurance, and try to make the entire insurance process very simple to manage. Online quotes take 90 seconds to complete, and cover can be placed instantly, 24 hours a day. We also offer a price guarantee - if you find a lower comparable price, we'll beat it by $50 (it doesn't happen very often though!). 

Make sure you pick the right builder, and the right project insurance for your build.

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