Trident Projects

The Importance of Choosing the Right Residential Builder

There is no shortage of residential builders to choose from on the market. However, that does not mean they are all the right fit for your project. One builder may be an expert in ground extensions and second storey-additions. Another builder may specialise in niche projects like duplex homes, garages or basement renovations.

They key to a successful building project is to know what you want in a new home. You also need to carry out your due diligence. That means the builder you choose should have the relevant building licenses to operate in your state or territory, public liability insurance, and Home Warranty Insurance to protect you from financial loss.

Keep these factors in mind when it comes time to choose your residential builder.

 

Define Your Needs

What outcomes do you want to achieve from building a new home? Whether you plan on choosing a preset home design or building one from scratch, this question may be hard to answer.

An easy way to get inspiration is to find a builder who has preset home designs on their website. Without having to call them up, you can check out the different home designs they have on their website, and pick out the ones that catch your eye.

After looking at several designs, you can write up a checklist of the items you want to include in your own home. For example, if you plan on having more children, you will need a home with extra bedrooms and a fairly large living space. If the plan is to retire, you may want to downsize from the old family home and keep things simple.

By having a clear vision in your mind, you will know exactly what to ask for in the consultation phase, and your residential builder will be able to lay out what they have to offer.

Portfolio and Testimonials.

As mentioned earlier, you have a lot of residential builders to choose from and not all of them will be right for you. You want to choose a builder who has relevant skills and experience that match the needs of your project.

To find the right builder, you should review their online portfolio and see if their projects match what you are looking for. You should also seek further information on each project they have completed. You can do this by seeking information from the builder directly, or ask to speak to a client they have previously done a project for.

Don’t settle for the testimonials the company has put on their website. Although the testimonials may be honest, they have still been carefully chosen to boost the company’s image and reputation. You need to go deeper.

Talking to a past client can give you valuable insight. They will go into detail about what the process was like, how responsive the builder was to changes in scope, and the quality of the final result itself.

The Building Plan

Building a residential home is a big project. Having a carefully thought-out plan is crucial to a successful outcome.

For this reason, you want to have a thorough building plan that outlines the process step-by-step, and a detailed risk assessment that explains how each individual risk will be managed.

Below are some crucial details to have in your building plan:

 

  • Scope of Works:

    This outlines the work required for the builder to complete. It should include who will be hired to complete what tasks, the tools required to complete each task, and the schedule of the project to make sure the project is delivered on time

  • Building Plan:

    The building plan should include the structural architectural plans, engineer reports, soil testing and other preliminary tasks. By this stage, you should know what material and labour will be required and how much the project will cost.

With all of this information, you should have a good understanding of what the builder has to offer, and whether you want to choose your residential builder or not.

Top 5 Common Mistakes When Choosing a Residential Builder

Building your first home is both an exciting and nerve-wracking journey.

For starters, it means you can finally build a home that reflects your lifestyle needs. No more having to settle for those minor concessions that come with most pre-built homes. You know the ones! The kind of homes that ‘almost’ have it all – except for that one tiny bedroom… or the master bedroom with no connecting bathroom.

On the other hand, building a custom home comes with a number of risks.

From start to end, you’ll be working closely with your local builder so it has to be someone you can trust. To help you avoid disaster, here are the top 5 common mistakes people make when choosing a residential builder.

1. Agreeing to the Lowest Quote

Judging the value of your builder based purely on price is a bad idea.

Why?

Because a builder with the lowest quote has most likely cut a lot of corners to make the initial price offer more attractive to you. Some tactics the builder may have used to lower the price could be:

  • Use of either low quality materials or sourcing them from overseas
  • Cutting corners in the building process to speed up the estimated time of delivery
  • Hiring cheap labour – who may not have the skills (or enthusiasm) to put in 110%

 

Another reason to be wary of cheap quotes is the risk of hidden fees. It’s pretty fair to assume a quote that is way below the industry standard is not telling you the whole story. There may very well be hidden costs like soil testing, flooring, modifications, land registration fees and more… all of which are just waiting to jump out when the time is right.

Save yourself the trouble and only agree to work with a builder who is honest, transparent and upfront about the total project fee and associated costs. You’ll have a much better idea of what to expect from the process and you won’t have to worry about hidden costs or fees throwing a spanner in the works later on.

2. Not Looking for Testimonials

Sure, the builder probably has nothing but glowing reviews on their website. But do these reviews accurately represent the company as a whole? They might be. But the only way to find out is to dig a little deeper.

Try to find the company on platforms like Facebook, Google and Hipages. Unlike their own website, the company has much less control over the kind of reviews posted on these sites (of course, they can report or flag reviews that are clearly fake and purely written to slander the company).

Due to the lack of ‘quality control’ on these platforms, you’re more likely to get raw and honest opinions from people who have dealt with the company before. Of course, there may be some biases in these reviews so it’s important to take their opinions with a grain of salt.

Another idea is to approach the business directly and get contact details from an existing client. Since these clients are in the middle of building, you’re likely to get honest feedback on how the project is going and if they would recommend the builder to you.

3. Skipping the Written Paperwork

It seems incredible that some people would agree to a home building project with a simple handshake – but it’s a common mistake made by people when choosing their residential builder.

Of course, these kind of informal agreements are dangerous for a number of reasons. That’s because there’s no formal written agreement in place to protect the client from the many associated risks that come with any building project.

With a handshake agreement there are no guarantees to financially protect the client if the project is delayed or never finished. There may also be no insurance coverage to protect the client if the property is damaged. Worse still, even if the project is completed and the property seems to be fine – there may be no structural guarantee in place to protect the client if the property has issues many years down the line.

Do yourself a favour. Hire a lawyer with experience in the construction industry who can review the contract you receive from the builder. Or have them draft a completely brand new agreement to be signed and agreed upon by the builder themselves.

And what if the builder doesn’t agree to those terms and conditions? Move on. Find a builder who will.

4. Not Having Fixed Fees

With any building project, you want to have the confidence of knowing the price you agree to on paper will be exactly what you pay in the end.

Unfortunately, there are some builders who try to squeeze every dollar out of you.

For example, most building contracts include terms like ‘provisional sums’ and ‘prime cost.’ What these terms mean is the supply of materials has not been fully detailed as of the current time of writing. So an estimate figure is drawn up to cover for the estimated cost of those building supplies and materials.

In the context of the initial planning stage this makes sense. It’s very hard to know exactly how much each item will cost down in the early stages of planning. However, some builders use these industry terms as a way to justify having wide price ranges, which give them the freedom to buy expensive supplies and materials that leave you financially drained.

To avoid being ripped off, learn to spot there complex industry terms – or hire a third-party to do it for you – and negotiate on a more realistic price range that suits your needs.

5. No Building Inspection

You’ve just wrapped up the final stages of building. You’re ready to collect the keys and start a new life in your brand new home. But wait! Just because the coat of paint is fresh on your new home, that doesn’t mean it’s safe from faults and defects.

Whether you’re building a custom home or off a plan, there is always the risk of building defects no matter what kind of property you build. There may be defects in regards to the carpentry, structural integrity, use of materials and overall craftsmanship. Worse still, there may be all kinds of pests already living in your home and getting comfy.

Of course, the only way to find these flaws is to have the property inspected by a licensed building inspection company.

This way you have peace of mind knowing the house you built is in top condition. If there are defects found in the property – and your project is covered by a workmanship guarantee – the builder should fix these issues at no extra cost to you.

Finally, with a building inspection your insurance will have the evidence they need to cover you for any natural damage that occurs to the property.

Want to avoid these common mistakes when choosing your residential builder? For construction without compromise look no further than Trident Projects. Call 02 9743 6333 and our team will get back to you as soon as possible.

5 Tips When Choosing the Right Commercial Builder

Commercial building projects come with their own unique hurdles and challenges. Those who are solely involved in the residential sector are often ill-equipped to handle the specific needs of a commercial project.

For this reason, it’s important to choose a contractor who has the skills, labour and experience to successfully finish a complex project like a commercial fitout, major refurbishment, high rise complex or commercial property extension.

Here are 5 useful tips to know when choosing the right commercial builder for you:

1.Choose a Builder With Relevant Experience

Would you trust a doctor with no experience in treating your condition? Probably not. The same logic applies to choosing the right commercial builder. You want to be sure the builder you choose not only has experience in commercial projects, but is able to meet the specific needs of the project you’re involved in.

For example, if you’ve been planning to extend and fitout your retail clothing store, you’ll want a builder who can design the store in a way that’ll stand out to customers, improve stock turnover and the overall shopping experience. This means a builder who has little to no experience in retail fitouts may not be able to bring real value to your business.

Another thing to remember. Commercial builders will typically have partnerships with key suppliers and tradespeople who can bring the right materials, labour and resources to successfully complete the project.

Stick with your gut. Be selective about your final choice. Or else you may end up paying a fortune later on to fix a bad job…

2.Inspect Their Portfolio

These days any professional building company will have an online portfolio for you to browse through. These pages often contain a list of successful projects that contain a few photographs and a brief summary of the project.

However, when it comes to choosing the right commercial builder, you need to dig a bit deeper for info.

Contact the builder directly and ask for a more detailed history of their past projects. By learning more about these projects, you’ll get a better idea on key aspects like the cost of materials, the average building timeline, the challenges they overcame, and other important details.

3.Get Deeper Insight from Their References

Okay, you’ve found a builder who has relevant experience and a strong portfolio. But there’s a crucial detail the builder may not openly share with you: how satisfied the client was with the process and outcome.

If the builder doesn’t have testimonials – or you have a few key questions about a key detail – then you need to contact their past clients. Depending on your concerns, you may also need to talk to their partners like their suppliers or third-party contractors.

Does the builder have a positive relationship with these people? Did the client have any unresolved issues during the process? By getting feedback from real people, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect from the experience.

4.Licenses and Qualifications

Obviously, the commercial builder you choose should have the correct licenses and insurance to cover for damage.

Another detail to keep in mind is trade memberships and other industry affiliations. If the building company is partnered with reputable entities like the Master Builders Association or Housing Industry Association, you know they’ve been properly vetted and comply with relevant local council laws and building code requirements.

There are also more specific industry associations that are relevant to certain types of commercial projects. For example, if the builder is a member of Dial Before You Dig, then you know the excavation job will be carried out safely and according to industry standards.

5.Do You Get Along With Them?

Now this is probably the most informal aspect of the vetting process. But it’s still just as important as the factors mentioned above.

That’s because throughout the course of the project, you’ll be communicating with your builder on a near-daily basis and exchanging ideas, solving certain problems and checking in on progress.

So if you don’t get along with the builder – or vice versa – then the experience is going to be harder.

Take the time to really get to know your builder before you commit to a project. After a few phone calls and face-to-face meetings, you should have a pretty good idea on whether you like not just their personality and attitude – but how quickly they respond to enquiries.

If you get bad signals from them early in the process, don’t be afraid to cut ties and go back to the drawing board.

You’ll save yourself from a lot of stress and headache in the long run…

Trident Projects is an experienced commercial builder that has successfully completed a variety of commercial projects ranging from $1 million to $10 million in the Sydney Metropolitan Area. Whether you’re a business owner who needs a new commercial fitout, extension, or build-up from scratch – we can provide a custom solution for you.

If you want to learn more about our commercial building services, call 02 9743 6333 or send your online enquiry.

How to Choose the Right Industrial Builder

Industrial building projects come with their own unique challenges that other projects don’t have. For this reason, it helps to choose a builder who has the relevant skills, experience, and labour to satisfy your project needs at the right price.

Here are some useful tips on how to choose the right industrial builder for your next project:

Know What to Ask For

Before you start approaching builders, you need to define the ideal scope, budget and timeline of your project.

To create the right design plan, you should meet with a professional designer or architect. With their skills and expertise, they can help bring your vision to life in the form of drafts, floorplans and concept models. During this process, you’ll need to define other aspects of the project such as the type of materials, fittings and engineering requirements, along with the associated costs of these services.

Once your plans have been completed, you’ll be given a ‘tender package’ which includes all the documentation you need to start contacting builders.

Build a Rapport With Them

No matter how big or small your project is, you’ll probably be in contact with your industrial builder on a near-daily basis.

For this reason, you want to choose the right industrial builder. One who is easy to communicate with, responds to your calls, and has a friendly personality that makes you feel at ease.

By choosing a builder you genuinely like, you will feel more relaxed knowing your project is in good hands, and can be confident they will see your project through to the end.

Get a Second Opinion

Testimonials are a powerful selling tool for any business. But for the average Joe, a word of recommendation from a trusted friend, colleague or family member is just as good.

Most builders you approach will be happy to give you references for past clients and designers, architects and third-party contractors (e.g. electricians, plumbers and tilers). Get in touch with these contacts to find out what their experience was like working with the builder.

Were they friendly and approachable throughout the process? How did they handle unforeseen shortcomings in the project? Were the builders professional and did they leave the site clean after each day?

By getting honest feedback from real people, you get a better idea on what to expect from the builder and if they are the right choice for you.

Confirm Their Experience

Make no mistake, the Australian construction industry is big. There are many types of builders on the market – from domestic to commercial and industrial – and they’re all lining up to earn your business.

When you approach a new builder, ask to see their portfolio containing relevant samples of their past work. Many builders will have past projects on their website, but you may need to approach some in person to get more detailed information.

While you browse through their projects, ask yourself if you like the quality of their work, and if you think they meet the specific needs of your project. After all, with a builder who has only built homes in the past, they may not have the skills and experience to build your new warehouse storage facility.

Compare Quotes

Price is a very important factor to think about. If you stoop too low, you risk having to pay hidden adjustment fees and charges later on down the track. Aim too high, and you may find yourself going over budget fast.

When you request a quote for builders, make sure the quote you receive takes into account the following details:

  • Change of Project Scope – Is there a description on how the builder charges for changes to the project? Do you have total involvement in making crucial design choice?
  • Itemised Quotes – Make sure the quote is easy to understand and has a total breakdown of the different items to make up your project. For example, this may include the cost of labour, party and materials, building assessments, machinery equipment hire and more.
  • Proof of Certification – This should go without saying. But be sure to check the builders’ credentials and confirm they are relevant to your state/territory and industry. Also keep in mind the type of insurance or building compensation they offer.
  • Payment Schedule – Usually you will need to pay an upfront deposit before the building can commence. This amount should be included in the quote, but it should also define the stages of building, and what you are expected to pay at each stage of the process.
  • Environmental Considerations – Construction can take a tremendous toll on the environment. It is the builders’ responsibility to ensure correct measures are followed in regards to the safe disposal of wastewater, construction materials and sediment. Check with your local council to find out what the minimum requirements are, and if your builder meets these requirements.

 

Want to learn more about how to choose the right industrial builder for you? Find out how Trident Projects years’ of experience and expertise can add tremendous value to your industrial project. For more information, call 02 9743 6333 and our team will be happy to answer your questions.

How to Choose the Right Builder for You

How to choose the right industrial builder

So you have decided to start your first building project. Congratulations! You have taken the first step to realising your dream – whether that be a new home, commercial premise, retail or office fitout. But before you reach out to providers in Sydney, you need to know how to choose the right builder.

There are no shortage of builders on the market who are professional and capable. But of course, it only takes a bad experience with an amateur for everything to fall apart. Follow these handy tips to find a builder who will go the extra mile to meet your exact needs.

Define the Scope

Whether or not you know what kind of project you want to build – whether it be a new home, renovation or office fitout – you need to get your details straight first. By having the specifics of your project written down, you are more likely to get a detailed and accurate quote.

Take the time to prepare some drawings and write down a list of everything you want – and do not want – in the property. If you are struggling with this step, ask yourself these questions to get the ball rolling:

  • What features do you want or not wanted to be included in the property?
  • What is your estimated budget?
  • What is your ideal timeline?
  • Do you have a preference for a certain interior or exterior style?
  • Do you need outdoor features like fencing, gardening or landscaping?
  • How does the building project tie-in with your business goals (i.e. improve workflow and productivity, meet growing customer demand or increase of staff members)
  • Do you want the builder to take care of installation or upgrades to utilities (i.e. gas, electricity and water)

You might need to approach a designer to help you come up with drafts and concepts. However, many professional builders in Sydney have in-house designers who can help you define the scope and cost of your project.

Ask for References

Don’t stress if you’re having trouble choosing the right builder in Sydney… help may be closer than you think.

Reach out to your family, co-workers and circle of friends to find recommendations for builders in your local area. Find out if they were happy with the experience, if they dealt with any setbacks along the way, and if they were truly satisfied with the final outcome.

By getting an honest opinion from people you can trust, you will have the confidence to approach the builder they recommend and you know the experience will most likely be a positive one.

If you cannot get a reference from people you know, approach a builder and ask for references yourself. This can be a past client, architect or designer they work with, or anyone else who has worked with – but is not directly ‘tied’ to – their company.

Are They Reputable?

This should go without saying, but make sure any builder you choose is fully qualified and insured.

Another thing to remember is Home Building Compensation (HCB). Formerly known as home warranty insurance, the HBC is a form of coverage to protect homeowners from financial loss in the event their builder is unable to finish the project. According to NSW regulation,” …cover of at least $340,000 is needed for any residential home or renovation project costing over $20,000 including GST, unless exempt.”[i]

Besides the HBC, you should make sure your builder has the following licenses and documents:

  • NSW Builders License issued by NSW Government Fair Trading
  • Public liability insurance
  • Professional indemnity insurance
  • Workers compensation or SafeWork insurance

Of course, make sure these licenses and documents are up-to-date!

Check Their Portfolio

To choose the right builder, you want to work with someone who has experience working on projects that are similar to yours.

Most reputable builders will have a portfolio on their website that you can browse. Do their past projects match the scope of your building project? Are there certain features you do or do not like about their properties? How has the property aged well over the past 5 to 10 years?

Not all websites will have such detailed information about their projects – some only have pictures and a short paragraph. Don’t be afraid to call up the builder themselves and ask more specific questions about their past projects. If the builder can answer your questions with confidence – then you’ll know you have made the right choice.

Get to Know Your Builder

Knowing how to choose the right builder is more than just finding someone with technical skills – you need to get along with them too.

The relationship you have with your builder is incredibly important. These are the people who are in charge of making your home life or business a success for the next several years. You cannot afford to gamble with your money or emotional wellbeing on a builder who is late to reply, unable to answer certain questions, or is trying to offer the cheapest price to secure the job.

Don’t feel like you have to commit to a certain builder, ever. There is always a better, friendlier, and more qualified builder on the horizon!

Keep in mind, the people you first meet might not end up being the ones who oversee your exact project. Early on, be sure to find out who will actually manage your project, and focus on getting to know them.

[i] https://www.sira.nsw.gov.au/insurance-coverage/home-building-compensation-insurance/do-i-need-home-building-compensation-insurance

 

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