When you think about renovating your home or even trying to find a renovation builder, there can be a mixture of both excitement and dread. Sure, the end result is going to look fantastic and your home will be more usable and liveable than ever. But, the thought of renovating can bring anxiety and dread to any good homeowner. You remind yourself of all the renovating horror stories you’ve heard, you think of the construction mess and then your mind starts to wander to scenarios of things going wrong, the project taking forever and your bank account draining dry before your very eyes. By this stage, you’re probably talking yourself out of renovating your home.
We can assure you that home renovations, including large scale structural renovations and extensions can run smoothly, can be done without excess anxiety and stress and can run on time and on budget. The key is finding the right renovation builder for the job. And for your project, in particular, finding the right fit comes down to asking the right questions to help make the best choice for you.
While there will be lots of questions that you need to ask and should be asking when interviewing renovation builders for your project, don’t forget to include these three important questions in the mix.
1. What Skills and Experience Do You Have With Renovation Builds?
This is an important question to ask for a very specific reason. Not all builders are the same. There are definitely good allrounder builders who can work on any project, but generally speaking, builders will often specialise in a specific area of construction. Some will work on new home builds only, some will specialise in custom-built homes, while others will carve out a career as commercial builders or focus on renovations and extensions only.
This means that most builders will have specific skills and experience relating to their specialised field and will hold most of their knowledge in this area. So, when undertaking a renovation, it’s important to find a builder who specialises in renovations and extensions as they are going to hold the most amount of knowledge, skills and experience in this area.
There is a big difference between working on a brand new construction of a new home and renovating an existing home. Existing homes, depending on the age, may be constructed in a different way to how homes are constructed today, they may use different materials than used today that need to be handled with care (asbestos for example) and extending or renovating an existing home to make the new blend with the existing without making it look like a shoddy add-on is a skill all in itself. Specialised renovation builders are the most equipped to make this happen.
When you ask a renovation builder what skills and experience they have, they should be able to show you some of their past projects and provide you with testimonials that will give you a good idea of what they are able to achieve.
2. What’s Included in Your Service?
When interviewing renovation builders, it’s always good to ask what is included in their service. Each and every renovation or extension project will be different and will require different steps and details. It’s important to know if the builder you are hiring can take care of the entire process, regardless of the requirements or if you will need to take care of some of the details yourself.
For example, if you don’t have plans for your renovation, will the renovation builder be able to create these for you or will you need to engage a building designer or architect yourself? Does the builder source all the materials, including any specialist pieces such matching tiles or custom mouldings, or again, will this be a job for you to do? It’s important to be crystal clear up-front on what is included in the builder’s services and what is not.
It’s also important to know if your builder will handle any council processes or building approvals. This is particularly important if your home is heritage listed or has any character constraints against the property. A good renovation builder who has experience and knowledge in your local area will be on top of this information and will be able to guide you through this process to ensure you are getting the results you want to achieve with your home while still meeting all the requirements set out by the council.
3. How Would You Approach Our Renovation?
This is a great question to ask any builder, particularly a renovation builder. How a builder approaches and works through each project will help you determine if they are going to be a good fit for you. When asked this question, the builder should be able to give you a clear overview of:
- Their processes when it comes to renovations,
- Who will be involved with the project, will he be hands-on or does he have another supervisor manage the project,
- How communication is managed throughout,
- What the process is if problems or disputes arise,
- How many updates and how much information you will receive during the project, and;
- How much disruption your family is likely to face while construction is underway.
Most of this information will be laid out clearly in a building contract, but it’s good to get an understanding of this info early in the process, so you can get a feel for the builder, their personality, demeanour and communication style to determine if they would be good to work with.
Finding the Right Renovation Builder For You
There are plenty of questions to ask as you work your way through the process of finding a renovation builder, and these are three great questions to start with. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers here, every renovation project is different, every family is different and every builder operates differently.
What you want to look for is a builder that is professional, has the skills and experience to complete the project successfully and can answer your questions with confidence and transparency. You want to be assured that you are making the right decision when engaging a renovation builder as it’s ultimately the builder that is going to make or break your project. Engage the right builder and your renovation will run smoothly with outstanding results. Engage the wrong builder and you’ll wind up with your own renovation horror story to share.
Take your time and do your homework, most importantly, listen to your intuition… It’s often never wrong. And if you are after more details on what questions to ask or what other information you need to know, why not download our free ebook…. 7 Things You MUST Ask Before Signing A Building Contract.
Or give us a call today and let’s talk.