All posts by Adam Hyatt

How Do I Choose the Best Builder/Construction Company for Me?

Choosing a builder is one of the biggest decisions you will make, particularly if you are planning a new build or major renovation project in Auckland. How do you ensure you make the right decision? How do you choose the best builder/construction company for your project?

The starting point is to make sure you get more than one builder to quote for the work as having more than one quote will allow you to compare what is on offer. In addition, ask friends, family, and colleagues for recommendations to find builders to get quotes from.

What happens once you have quotes? How do you ensure you make the right choice?

There are several things you need to consider and research when deciding on a builder for your project. This checklist will help with the process.

Essential Checklist When Choosing a Renovation or New Home Builder in Auckland

  1. Make sure the company is certified – while being a registered Master Builder or a Licensed Building Practitioner isn’t in itself an indicator of quality, it does demonstrate a commitment to industry standards.
  2. Read reviews – again, reviews are not everything, and they don’t always tell the whole story, but they should be part of your research.
  3. Review the builder’s past projects – this is about making sure the builder has experience of the type of work you are planning. You’ll also be able to look at the quality of workmanship the builder delivers by reviewing their previous jobs.
  4. Contact previous customers – ask the builder to put you in touch with a few of their previous clients. When you speak to these clients, find out about the experience they had working with the builder as well as their opinion on the quality of the work. In particular, ask about any negative experiences. After all, they happen on construction projects. It’s important you find out how the builder responds when things don’t go according to plan.
  5. Visit current building sites – visiting one or two of the builder’s ongoing projects will also give you a valuable insight. You can see how they operate, the quality of workmanship they deliver, the standard of subcontractors, and more.
  6. Check exactly what the builder is offering – is the builder offering and quoting for everything you need? In particular, if there are differences in what is being offered between the builders who have quoted for the work, make sure you get clarification.
  7. Check that everything is in order with the quote – this is a big one as you need to know what is and what isn’t included. Things to look for include the builder’s policy on variations, additional fees and charges, and more. Remember, some builders quote low initially, but you then end up paying a lot more once you factor in all the additional fees.
  8. Make sure you’re happy with the payment schedule–find out when the builder expects payment instalments.
  9. Check the contract – check the builder will supply you with a contract as this is a must. Then, carefully read through the contract when you get it. If you are unhappy with anything or are unsure about certain elements, ask for clarification before signing.
  10. Find out about guarantees –remember, all builders must fix problems that occur in the 12 months after the building work is completed. Check what additional guarantees and warranties the builder offers.
  11. How will they manage the project – find out how the builder will manage their part of the work, particularly if they are responsible for project managing the build. Do they use software, how meticulous is the planning, who is responsible for the planning, etc?

There is a lot in the above checklist, but it is the best way to make sure you make the right choice when selecting a builder in Auckland.

15 Tips for Choosing a Renovation Contractor in Auckland

Choosing a renovation contractor in Auckland is a big decision. The renovation is a major expense, plus you want the job to be done well. It’s important you trust and like working with the contractor too, as this makes the process much easier.

You also need to consider that renovation projects are different from new builds. In a renovation project, the builder will be in your home and may need to access areas of your home that are not included in the renovation work.

Therefore, it’s crucial the renovation contractor respects your property and family life while also minimising the impact the work has on areas that are not being renovated.

The following 15 tips will help you choose the right renovation contractor.

Find &Assess

  1. Don’t start the process too late – the best renovation contractors in Auckland can be booked up far in advance. So, to make sure you are not disappointed, don’t leave your search too late.
  2. Speak to friends, family, and colleagues – one of the best sources of information to find renovation contractors in Auckland is to ask friends, family, and colleagues for recommendations.
  3. Check the internet and look at reviews – this includes rating services focused on the building industry, like NoCowboys.
  4. Find out if the builder is registered – check the Master Builders Association or with NZ Certified Builders.
  5. Check the builder is offering the full range of services you require – do you need a design and build service, for example, or does the builder offer project management services?
  6. Get more than one quote – this will let you compare prices as well as the services offered, levels of experience, and more.
  7. Remember, the cheapest quote is rarely, if ever, the best – it’s important you get an understanding of why some contractors have higher costs than others. This includes making sure lower bidders are basing their costs on the same thing as higher bidders, or are they pricing based on the assumption they will be able to revise the design in some way to make it cheaper. You also have to think of costs over the duration of the project. After all, what looks cheap initially could end up being the most expensive.
  8. Don’t base your decision solely on cost – following on from the last point, you should consider the service the builder is offering as a whole rather than looking at price alone.
  9. Find out about the experiences of others – check testimonials and, if possible, speak to past clients of the builders whose quotes you are interested in.

Additional Questions to Ask and Things to Check

  1. Check guarantees that are offered – reputable builders offer guarantees on the work they do. At Brothers Construction Group, for example, we offer a 10-year Master Builders Guarantee on our projects as standard.
  2. Ask about quality control procedures – specifically, find out if quality control is an afterthought or a central part of the builder’s services.
  3. Find out about the subcontractors the builder uses – the best builders will use a very select list of subcontractors who they have experience working with.
  4. Ask about health and safety policies and procedures – health and safety must be taken seriously with no shortcuts.
  5. Check contracts – you first need to make sure your renovation contractor supplies you with a contract. This is essential. Then, make sure you read it thoroughly to ensure you understand the terms.
  6. Do you like them – finally, ask yourself whether you think you will like working with the contractor. This is more important than you might think.

10 Things Your Builder Needs Before Starting Work on Your Renovation in Auckland

Getting your renovation project in Auckland off to a good start is important and ensuring your builder has the information they need is a key part of this.

There may be specific things required for your renovation, but the following 10 apply to almost all projects.

  1. Property File

The builder who originally built your home is likely to have created a property file which is a collection of documents held bylocal council. It comprises important information about the structure of the home as well as other elements including architect drawings, letters of communication, building and drainage plans, approvals and compliance, consent applications and more. This information will certainly help your builder plan the renovation work.

  1. Working Drawings and Specification

You will need working drawings to obtain building consent from the council. Your builder will need these drawings as well. Make sure you give your renovation builder working drawings rather than concept or design drawings.

Also, your architectwill probably create a specification document outlining the finish, materials, and fittings. Your builder will need this too.

  1. Structural Calculations

Many renovation projects, particularly those that involve building an extension, need structural calculations produced by a structural engineer. Your builder will need these to ensure the build is structurally sound.

  1. Start & Finish Dates

The schedule of your build is important, so make sure your builder knows your expected start and finish dates as soon as possible.

  1. Whether You Plan to Live in the House During the Work

Depending on the extentof your renovation, it mightbe necessary for you to vacate your home during the period of works. However, this may not always be possible for a variety of reasons. Alternatively, if you are planning on living in the house throughout the renovation, notify your builder in advance.

There will be disruption, but a good renovation builder will be able to minimise that disruption as much as possible.

  1. Signed Contracts

You should always make sure your renovation builder gives you a contract. You will need to read and make sure you are happy with this contract. You will then need to send it back to the builder before the building work begins.

  1. Details of Who Will Make Decisions

Even with the most carefully planned renovation projects, decisions still have to be made during the build. These decisions can take longer than necessary in some situations and can even disrupt the schedule. Therefore, it’s helpful if you think about this in advance.

  1. How to Contact You

Your builder will need to communicate with you throughout the build, so they will need your contact details. Let the builder know if you have a preferred method of contact too.

  1. Your Expectations in Relation to Communication

Good communication is crucially important to all building projects. There are different ways to communicate, however, so let your builder know what you expect in advance. This will prevent frustrations from developing later in the build.

  1. Details of Any Suppliers You Want to Use

Have you identified suppliers you want to use, such as a kitchen supplier, for example, or a supplier of the tiles you want to use in the bathroom? Your builder will need this information.

Collaborative Effort

High-quality builders in Auckland will take steps to make the renovation process as hassle-free as possible. It’s a collaborative effort, though. Providing the above information as early as you can is a good place to start.

When Is the Best Time to Build a New Home in Auckland?

Getting the timing right for your new home build in Auckland can make the process smoother with less hassle. The build can even progress quicker. In simple terms, though, there is no specific right or wrong time to start building a new home.

After all, you can, theoretically, start the build at any time of the year. In addition, everyone’s circumstances are different, leaving too many variables to explicitly state this time is good and that time is bad.

That said, there are several factors you should consider when planning a new home build in Auckland. These factors will ensure you find the best time for you.

The things you need to consider include getting building consent and the weather. The most important factor, however, is your personal circumstances.

Your Personal Circumstances

Individual circumstances that influence the ideal time to start your new build include:

  • Availability of finances
  • Having somewhere to live during the construction work
  • Family considerations such as pregnancy, sickness, studying for exams, etc
  • Deadlines such as the end of a tenancy agreement, changing jobs, moving to a new area, getting married, etc

The Weather

Building a home can take anything up to 6-7 months to complete (depending on complexity of build). In other words, your builders will be working across multiple seasons.

Some jobs are more difficult to do in winter months,asbad weather can slow down the build. This particularly applies to work outside.

The days are shorter in winter too, limiting the time that can be spent onsite doing outside work.

On the flip side, there are benefits to starting a new build during the winter. Contractors and subcontractors, for example, are likely to be less busy which makes scheduling easier, plus you may get your application for consent processed faster as there are fewer consents submitted in late autumn/early winter.

Some other things you should think about in relation to the weather include:

  • The schedule should get the build to a stage where the house is weatherproof before the really bad winter weather conditions set in. This protects the property while also allowing work to continue inside.
  • Foundations should be laid as soon as possible after the site has been excavated. Getting the foundations in quickly prevents frost and rainwater from building up in the soil.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, heat can impact the laying of foundations. If the weather is too hot, as can happen in the middle of summer, the concrete will dry too fast, making it brittle.

Professional new home builders in Auckland will be aware of the above and will plan for them, but it’s important you understand these factors too.

Building Consent

Building consent takes time, so getting it will play an important role in when you can start work on-site.

You should also remember that you must start building within 12 months of getting building consent. Furthermore, the build must be completed within two years of getting building consent.

Getting the Timing Right

At Brothers Construction Group, we have extensive experience as new home builders in Auckland. We can give advice to help you decide on the best time to build your new home. Contact us today to speak to a member of our team.