5 tips to get the best from your builder

5 tips to get the best from your builder

Starting a building or renovation process can be daunting. We’re here to help ensure that process goes smoothly for you, which is why we’ve asked some of our NZCB builders for their advice on how to get the best results from your builder…

Have clear expectations and a detailed plan

This one seems obvious, but it’s easily lost in the magnitude of undertaking a building project.

Ian Chamberlain, of Chamberlain Carpentry & Joinery in Waikato/Bay of Plenty, says the first thing you should do is ask lots of questions! “Make sure the type of building work you want is the right fit for the builder you choose – don’t assume it is.”

Many builders have specialist areas or skills, so may not be suited to the type of work you require. Having a frank conversation with your builder is the perfect place to start, as most builders will be able to recommend the right person for the job if they’re not able to meet your needs.

Speaking of frank conversations, Richard Poff (RTP Builders Ltd in Canterbury) says it’s important to keep a clear head throughout the build, but especially at the start. “Be realistic in your plans, and be open and honest in conversations with your builder.”

You should also make as many decisions as possible before you begin. Zane Raphael, of Renovation Builders in Auckland, says there’s no such thing as too much detail in your plan. His team like their clients to have selected plumbing items, tiles, joinery, roofing and paint colours prior to starting, or at the very beginning of a project.

“Having plumbing items on site make the first fix a breeze. Colour schemes often throw a client, as there is so much going on during the build that they generally leave these sorts of things to the last minute and make pressure decisions rather than calculated ones.”

Zane also recommends having a contingency budget in place, especially when renovating, as your builder can’t ever fully know what they’re dealing with until they begin work. “We suggest between 10 and 20 per cent, depending on the age and type of home,” he says.

Have a contract and insurance

Moving into your new or renovated home should be hassle-free and rewarding. With an NZCB-approved builder, you’re getting the best in the business – with a solid reputation built on the highest standard of knowledge, skills and expertise. A building contract is a really important safeguard for you and your builder, when undertaking any building or renovations. All NZCB builders have standard form NZCB contracts, which we recommend you have checked by your lawyer before signing.

It’s also important to have insurance. NZCB builders can offer you the most comprehensive 10-year residential building guarantee on the market – Halo. It’s a unique, independent building cover that’s only available to people who build or renovate with an NZCB approved builder.

So what does having a Halo Guarantee give you? In the unlikely event something happens to your builder, or NZCB itself, during your building project, the policy cover remains in place.
Halo covers you for loss of deposit, extra costs to complete the dwelling, structural defects for 10 years (including weather tightness), non-structural defects for 10 years, and alternative accommodation requirements. Plus, if you sell your property within 10 years, the guarantee automatically passes over to the new owner.*

It’s important to note that when you hire a NZCB builder, you are not automatically covered by Halo, so remember to ask your builder for it, specifically.
Click here to see more about the building contracts, insurance and guarantees we recommend.

Regular progress check-ins

Checking in with your builder regularly throughout your build or renovation is also important. It gives you a chance to make decisions and catch any potential fish-hooks before they occur, helping avoid those costly changes down the track. Open and honest conversation throughout the build really is key to getting the best possible results from your builder.

Richard also points out you need to be prompt in paying for agreed ‘build milestones’, as the entire budget and plan of your project is based on these key points in the build process.

Think long-term

It’s important to consider the long-term impact of your decisions when building or renovating. What are your goals for your home? Do you want the best possible return on your investment, or are you more concerned about having the smallest possible environmental footprint?

Ian says it’s important to ask good, constructive questions around the maintenance of your property going forward – whether its new or renovations. “Ask about energy efficient options to do with your build/renovations so that your place is nicer to live in and incurs less cost over the life use of the building.”

And, lastly…

If in doubt, your NZCB builder is an expert! Find a local NZCB builder who can help with your new build or renovation. They have a wealth of knowledge and know all the latest building techniques, so, if you’re struggling, ask them for help.

* Please refer to the Halo 10 Year Residential Guarantee Insurance Policy for full details of the policy coverage, exclusions and additional benefits.

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