How to choose the right builder

Vis­it­ing dis­play cen­tres can be an over­whelm­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, but a lit­tle re­search can make your de­ci­sion eas­ier

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - ADVICE - Words Robyn Wil­lis More met­ri­; pro­duc­tre­

con­sid­er­ing go­ing with a project builder for my next home but there are so many builders on the mar­ket. How do I make the right choice?

No mat­ter how big or small your bud­get is, build­ing a house is a ma­jor in­vest­ment. And there e are plenty of ad­van­tages of go­ing with a project builder, not the least of which is s hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity to walk through de­signs un­til you find one you love.

But be­yond the fab­u­lous floor­plans and sparkling sur­faces, there are some hard de­ci­sions to make about which builder to go with.

Last month, Met­ri­con was named Aus­tralia’s num­ber one res­i­den­tial builder for the third year in a row in the HIA-Color­bond steel Hous­ing 100 Re­port. Gen­eral man­ager for Met­ri­con NSW,

(pic­tured), says choos­ing a builder is about more than what awards they have won — but it doesn’t hurt ei­ther. “We don’t set out to achieve awards like that but if we do ev­ery­thing right and valu value our cus­tomers ev­ery step of th the way, this is the by-prod­uct,” Luke says.

Your per­fect match

If you’re look­ing at a few builders and you’re not sure w who to go with, Luke says to start by look­ing at the his­tory of the bus busi­ness. This could be as sim­ple as checki check­ing how long the builder has been in busi­ness, through to read­ing re­views of their work on­line on fo­rums such as Prod­uct Re­view where re­view­ers have to show proof of pur­chase be­fore be­ing able to post their com­ments. “I’d also look for builders who back their prod­uct,” Luke says. “We of­fer a 25-year struc­tural war­ranty on our houses when the leg­isla­tive re­quire­ment is 6½ years. If the builder is of­fer­ing only what they are re­quired to un­der the law, that would be a red flag. Look for builders who have been around for a long time.” Luke also sug­gests be­ing up­front about your needs when speaking to sales staff at dis­play cen­tres. In­creas­ingly, builders are so­lu­tions based with a large num­ber of de­signs on of­fer.

“We have a de­sign range as big as a coun­cil li­brary,” Luke says. “Peo­ple ask us if we are flex­i­ble in our de­signs but we would rather that you tell us what you are try­ing to achieve.

“You might have teenagers who need a lit­tle pri­vacy so you need three bath­rooms, or you might have smaller chil­dren who you get up to at night so the bed­rooms need to be close to­gether.”

Cus­tomis­ing your de­sign fur­ther for a spe­cial­needs child or an elderly par­ent is not the drama it used to be ei­ther. Luke says if your re­quests are a lit­tle out of the or­di­nary, it’s worth shop­ping around for a builder who is pre­pared to lis­ten.

Above all, Luke says you should ex­pect a high level of ser­vice from your builder, be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter con­struc­tion.

“Some cus­tomers think they are just en­gag­ing a builder who is only there to build their house,” he says. “But we’re the builder, the project man­ager, the coun­cil ne­go­tia­tor.”

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