Selecting Right Contractors is a Process When Owner Building in Sydney

June 15, 2019 12:43 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

A little recognised statistical fact is over 70% of all owner builders are female. Over 70% of all trades are male. Selecting appropriately skilled and experienced trades can be more about expectations theory than a practical fit for a specific project.

Hiring right trades and contractors for your owner builder project can make or break family finances, and dim every highlight of what should be a wonderful experience. Owner building takes on a lot of work and worry, but the rewards are both financially stimulating and, final project outcomes are overwhelmingly better than any volume or project home builder can ever dream of delivering.

Owner builders are more likely to confront crowded supply and labour markets by reason their projects are one-off, and most sought after contractor’s preference and align with home builders as their main source of revenues. Furthermore, it can be expected that non-aligned contractors hold long lead times by way of filling their scheduled job cards.

Identifying suitable trades falls into 6 prime activities:

  1. Word of mouth or referred by friend (trusted and without commercial gain friend. Not a facebook friend)
  2. Online search, including advertising
  3. Previously hired
  4. Introduced by outside unaffiliated entity such as materials supplier, other tradesperson certifier or commercially connected entity
  5. Drive-by scanning and spotting for suitable trades around the neighbourhood
  6. You’re in a relationship with him or her

Separating the good from the terrible, is a piece of work in itself, however a practical framework would include:

  1. Are they appropriately registered, insured, hold ABN and are members of an industry association or government authority such as DFT?
  2. Ask for references on similar projects (scope and value of works), and in similar neighbourhoods
  3. Prepare written scope of works, including timelines with expected outcomes
  4. Request communication in email (no text messaging) to encourage detailed comments and quoting. Also email records time and date.
  5. Request a written quote against the Scope of Works. This quote should detail ABN, company name and address to allow ABN checking against company name and validate the actual registered and insured business, from a trading name. Moreover the quote should contain progress payments and make reference to the state or national consumer code or ACT.
  6. Look for exclusions in the quote. Don’t just read what they will do, for example; painters, should include how many coats they will do, where a cheaper quote and someone trying to cut corners might only do one.
  7. Short list more than one quote, and for large projects, 3 quotes is standard industry practice.
  8. Don’t dismiss “gut feel”, if the first meeting lacks rapport and a balanced care factor (for example talking down to the owner builder, or continually interrupting, or the famous, Aussie way, “don’t worry”, then star worrying about how such a relationship will work. It’s best at this point to drop it, and move on.
  9. Working with contractors is a two way street. Both parties need to understand and appreciate each other.
  10. Prioritize culture fit

Good builders and tradespersons are proud to promote their experiences. Asking for references is standard practice but remember reference checking should be back checked, for example, visit DFT Licencing and qualifications  for independent reviews.

Best wishes with your project and for connecting with the right advice, relevant resource hubs and leveraging off experiences an example of a fine resource visit Naomi Findlay.

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This post was written by Technical Underwriting Centre

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