Ten Questions to Ask Your Builder

Ten Questions to Ask Your Builder

Once you’ve decided to build a home, choosing your builder is the most important decision you’ll make. Get it wrong, and it could end in disaster.

The Northern Territory is rife with unqualified builders who deliver poor-quality buildings and even disappear mid-build, leaving home owners in financial and emotional disarray. Unfortunately, many home owners simply don’t know what to look for or what to ask.

So, to help you pick a reputable builder and ensure a positive building experience, we’ve created this useful checklist. Print it off, get answers, and protect yourself.


Are you a Licensed Builder?

This is the first question you need to ask, and you should only ever work with licensed tradesmen. It may seem like an obvious point to reinforce but rogue operators are rife and the results can be disastrous. The Builders Practitioners Board allows you to run a search on builders to check their licence online.


Do you have Fidelity Fund Coverage?

Make sure your builder provides you with a Fidelity Fund certificate before you pay them anything. This covers you for financial loss up to 20% or 200,000 (whichever is the lesser) should the builder die or become insolvent. For more details, the Fidelity Fund has a number of fact sheets on their website.


Do you have any current or past building disputes underway with the Builders Practitioners Board?

This will highlight the builder’s general reliability and professionalism, as well as the overall quality of their work. Findings of the board are public and searchable on their website.


Have you ever been declared bankrupt?

If your builder goes belly-up at some point, it may mean a quick eject button on your project should they not have the appetite or means to finish the job. A bankrupt company may pull the plug without warning, leaving you stuck with a half-built house and a long, expensive road ahead to completing it. It happened five times in 2014 in Darwin, so don’t make the mistake of thinking it can’t happen to you. 


Do you work in the same area I’ll be building?

It seems simple, yet many people don’t ask this question. Your builder may not be interested in building somewhere where they have to travel, so might instead hire sub-contractors to do the job for them. Who knows if these sub-contractors will be up to standard. If possible, it’s much better to choose a builder who works locally.


How long will the building maintenance period last?

A builder agrees to perform defect repairs for a period of time after the property is handed over to you. Most experts recommend a six-month period for residential property, with some of the leading builders offering even longer coverage. The longer your building maintenance period, the better for your back pocket.


Who will supervise my property’s construction?

This is important because it’s the Construction Manager who keeps everyone honest. When a supervisor is onsite, higher-quality work is performed. Look into your Construction Manager’s track record including their past experiences, any trades they made hold, their construction qualifications, and the duration they’ve been with their current employer.


What about your trade base and its long-term employment?

A consistent and reliable trade base is essential to making certain the job will be high quality come what may. Find out how long your builder’s trade base has been working with them, and whether they hold the required qualifications.


Can I view your recently finished projects?

This is absolutely a no-brainer. First of all, make sure you clarify if the building team who built the display home will also be building your home. Don’t just assume! Either way, you must be able to look at your builder’s recently-completed work for peace of mind. This allows you to see for yourself if the builder is doing the type of job you want for your home. Check out the quality of products used and the work completed. If possible, speak to the builder’s past clients and get references, so you can hear about their customer experience and level of satisfaction. You’ll be surprised how forthcoming people are with details. 


What other projects will you be involved with while working on my house?

You don’t want your builder to bite off more than they can chew. The more they can concentrate on your job, the fewer mistakes they’ll make and the faster your home will be completed. If your builder needs to delay a job, make sure you nd out if there is a genuine reason, or if they’ve taken too much on.


What next?

Remember, building a new home is a huge financial and emotional investment. Please take the extra time to do a thorough check on any prospective builder, their workmanship, references, and credentials.

At Killarney Homes, you get to talk directly to our award-winning design team and our builder, as they need to understand your personal home requirements. These are the people who will produce a superior energy efficient home to meet your needs. There’ll be no hard sell or pressure, just quality assistance to make the process easier for you.

We offer both a free design meeting and site inspection, which could potentially save you thousands of dollars when it comes to designing and building your new home. You can trust our knowledge and expertise to help you make the right decisions about your land selection and home design.

We’re the experts, we’re just a phone call away, and we’d love to help you. Please feel free to reach out on the contact details below, and we’ll be in touch.


Contact us

08 8931 2122



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