Guest post by Sarah Grey
What sets one construction company apart from another?
With so many builders competing for your construction contract, finding the right one for your job
can be a real challenge, especially if you don’t have any direct experience in construction. From
the perspective of a professional Architect, here are some things to look out for when comparing
partners for your next big project.
A strong commitment to budget
Budget overruns are so frequent in the construction industry that they’ve almost become
a standard expectation, particularly when it comes to large commercial and civil projects.
Whilst there will always be unpredictable factors that can blow out your construction time, it’s
not unreasonable to expect that the final cost will be within 5-10% of your original contract.
Reputable construction companies will provide guaranteed fixed price contracts so you can rest
assured that your project will stay on budget.
Awards, but not just any awards…
Every industry has their own respected body that recognises and rewards industry leaders. By
the same token, there are also plenty of less knowledgeable bodies who are only in the awards
business to promote their own business instead of the industry as a whole. In the Australian
building industry, HIA is the premier industry representative. If the builder you’re considering
can show off recent awards related to your specific project, you can be quite confident that they
know what they’re doing.
The law can only go so far to protect you from dodgy workmanship. It’s worth spending more
of your budget to secure a builder that offers a more extensive warranty. Be sure to check the
details thoroughly, it’s not just about the length of time, it’s also about their process for arranging
repairs or replacement of material.
Local project management
A dedicated Project Manager who regularly visits your site and is always on call is an absolute
must. Don’t settle for anything less.
The most reputable home builders are equally liked by their mum and dad clients as they are
by architect clients. Whilst industry colleagues can provide valuable recommendations, it’s
easy to forget that many home-owner/builders are eagerly sharing their own reviews of building
companies online. Browse building company reviews on product review websites to see if there
are any client horror stories waiting to be discovered.
An increasing number of builders are now offering ‘design and build’ services to their direct
clients. While there’s no doubt that this service offering is an inferior substitute for a professional
architect, this doesn’t mean that you should avoid working with them. The greater the
understanding your builder has of the design process and of the latest developments, the easier
they will be to work with.