The Difference Between a Good Builder and a Great Builder
When it comes to selecting a builder (or any trade for that matter) there is a whole spectrum of range of quality. There are, however, great builders out there and here are some of their qualities. When you are next looking for a builder, especially if you have a disability modification to be done, please keep these qualities in mind. Don’t be uncomfortable asking questions – you will very soon get a good feel if you’re talking to a somewhat mediocre builder or a great builder. So, the qualities of a great builder are:
Who is selling? Ask the person who is talking to you (aka selling) in the beginning what their role is. Are they a salesman or are they the business owner or perhaps a senior manager or construction supervisor? Salespeople (no disrespect intended) are paid to sell – so they will often tell you what you want to hear. Owners especially have an invested interest and if the person is a manager or supervisor who will be with you to the end and often wants to ensure the job flows smoothly – otherwise they will be hearing about it.
Availability. Excellent builders will be available during the design phase, long before ground is broken. In fact, they will be available during the whole build. A great builder will offer up practice advice and expertise; so be sure to listen to their ideas. There may well be a gem or two amongst them.
Communication. It’s terribly important that you communicate openly and clearly with your builder (and that they communicate with you) right from the beginning. Telling your builder what you want to achieve, any challenges or special needs you have will make it easier for your builder to deliver. As a disability building specialist, this is particularly important so that we can meet your needs. A great builder will be open to listening and to having two-way discussions with their clients.
Trust, Reputation & Quality. A quality builder will be competitive in pricing, but there is more to a build than the price. Whilst no one should pay above market price, the cheapest is not always the best as you may discover you get what you pay for. Be sure to check out the business/builder online, check out reviews and if there are any negative comments or articles about the builder. Have a really good look at their track record; what they have done, how they have done it and what the experience was like for their other customers. Also ask about what products they use, especially with a house build, there is a huge range of goods and levels of quality. Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials of people who have built with that builder and if possible talk to them. Being able to ask what the experience was like will help you develop trust. Transparency is very important, so if you are talking to a previous client, ask questions about their transparency, how they handled any hiccups which occurred, communication and, of course, their overall experience. Needless to say (although it should be said), ensure that your builder is fully licensed and insured. For the larger project, ask about their professional memberships such as with QMBA (Queensland Master Builders) or HIA (Housing Industry Association) as well.
Customer Service. The great builder will be customer service focused and keep you in the loop. At times it can take longer for plans to come out of council which is something we have no control over, but the great builder will keep you updated and give you a timeline of what to expect during the build or project. Along the way, if you are unsure about anything – just ask – the great builder will be always happy to answer your questions and will be very responsive to your calls, emails or enquiries – not just at the beginning but during the entire process.
The ‘Devil is in the Detail’ is a great expression. If you feel your builder is asking a heap of questions or has a heap of paperwork, that’s a great sign that they are details focused – please be patient with the questions; it’s all for your benefit. Naturally, the size of a job will reflect on how much is required here. When we are installing a wheelchair ramp or bathroom rail, there is far less required than when we are completing a full kitchen or bathroom renovation for a disabled or elderly person. However, whatever the size of the job, we never cut corners and always ensure a quality job is done.
Always show respect. Being a builder that specializes in disability and aged care works, we particularly believe that respect is important to be shown to customers. No builder (or anyone for that matter) should make you feel dumb, be snappish or treat you (the customer) with anything but respect. I have a great team behind me and client respect and customer service is something I have always instilled in my team.
Teams & Systems. Great builders might make it look easy, but that’s because they have a great team behind them and exceptional systems and processes behind the scenes. You may not see all this behind the scenes, but it’s there when you do see things go smoothly. Great builders don’t ‘fly by the seat of their pants’ or ‘go with the flow’ but rather, will be very systems focused. You will see this in the quoting process right at the beginning.
Handle glitches well. The reality is that things will go wrong from time to time. It can be striking a string of bad weather, or the right product not turning up as ordered, or perhaps Council are being a little difficult. A great builder will take it all in his/her stride. They will stay in control, remain cool and calm and be solutions focused. Those who’ve been in the game for quite a while (like myself) have come up against all sorts of challenges but with that experience comes the knowledge of how to overcome that situation. Now, I should say even brilliant builders cannot control the weather, but we can often find options and alternatives for other challenges.
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All the above will hopefully help you in the process of selecting a great builder for your next project – whether that’s something as simple as a ramp or rail, or a complete new home build. It’s always important to do your due diligence and check out a prospective builder before you sign on the dotted line. On that note if the job is more than $3,300 you require to have a Contract. Many builders will use the QMBA or HIA contracts which are set out to be fair and equitable for both the builder and the customer.
If you have any building needs particularly around disabled works including renovations and adjustments to your home for either the disabled person or the elderly, we’d love to hear from you. We even have a product called ‘CarePort’ which is a great temporary mini bathroom you can hire from us – either to be used during the build or even short term if you have something needing specialist bathroom, showering and toileting facilities. Give us a call on 3807 4309 as we’d be more than happy to have a chat with you, listen, offer advice and see how we might be able to help you with your next project.