If you're planning on building a new house or a major renovation, it's really vital that you find a builder who is both reputable AND fully qualified AND licensed!
When you're building your first home (and possibly even your second or third), it's nerve-racking. There's no way around it, unfortunately. It comes with the territory.
But that doesn't mean you have to experience some of the many horror stories the unwary tell about their own building projects because now you know better (or you will once you've read to the end of this blog).
If you've been referred to a builder who doesn't have a license, run. It doesn't matter how experienced in the industry they seem to be, or how personable he or she seems, or how much cheaper their quote came in. If you go with an unlicensed builder, you're asking for a world of pain. Simply put: his work is not legit!
We get it. You've vetted and whittled a long list of contractors down to a couple of firm favourites. After much hand wringing, the wheat has finally emerged from chaff. The next step is to check their bona fides - that is, do your due diligence and investigate they have the experience, qualifications and licenses they claim.
Making the right decision which builder to go with is always tough, especially if each contractor on your short list is appealing for different reasons. Every construction company has its pros and cons and that can make things tricky.
But the very bottom line - the absolute kicker in your decision-making process? If they're unlicensed...forget about it.
Ultimately, does it even matter if your contractor is licensed or not?
The answer is a big fat YES.
Without a license, required qualifications and insurance, builders can do far more damage than good. And that, in turn, can end up costing you far more than you've budgeted for.
There have been instances where builders carried out $100,000 and more of residential work without a license or even a licensed business name.
And that leaves you high and dry if they turn out to be a dodgy operator.
- They could leave your property unfinished - for months, even years.
- They could give you a hefty discount for upfront payment then disappear with the cash.
- They could complete your home but leave it unliveable because they haven't built to code or have cut corners on materials and workmanship.
- They could make mistakes, leaving your family home a death-trap and, if they have no insurance, you've got no leg to stand on when it comes to demanding restitution.
There are just too many things that can go wrong during building projects, from incorrectly installed doors to bad bathrooms, electrical nightmares to driveway damage and so much more.
Avoiding home-reno nightmares like these is easy. Check the license and qualifications of your next builder, without exception.
Don't say you haven't been warned!
We advise homeowners to do thorough checks on builders before signing any contracts. And, if your builder is asking you for progress payments that aren't stipulated in the initial contract, we'd be asking some serious questions.
We understand home building disputes can get very emotional, especially when there's large amounts of money involved. Make the right choice from the get-go and avoid a potentially long and legal battle.
Don't mess around. Go for a builder with a license, qualifications and established reputation for building excellence. It could save you dollars and heartache in the long run.