What's the hardest thing about building your own home?
Updated: Aug 19, 2019
Frankly, the hardest thing about building your home is choosing the right builder.
Before you get to the stage of choosing a builder, your research and design process will have yielded finished design documents to put out for tender by builders (see Preliminary research; The design process).
Two common ways to choose a builder are:
- choose a preferred builder and invite them to prepare a quotation or ‘tender’ (and seek an alternative quotation to ensure competitive pricing)
- call open or selective tenders from a range of builders and choose on the basis of price.
Each method delivers a builder and a quotation but one emphasises best price and the other, preferred builder. In either case, note in your tender documents that you are ‘not obliged to accept the lowest or any tender’.
A designer generally helps choose builders to tender for a project, based on recommendations and past experience. Advertised open tenders deliver variable outcomes and often exclude smaller specialist builders who do not have time to tender for multiple projects.
Your choice of builder is almost as critical as your choice of designer.
The principal role of a builder is to coordinate the building works as project manager. This role includes supervising and coordinating each trade; sourcing, quantifying and coordinating delivery of materials; and, most importantly, quality-assuring the entire process.
Builders and tradespeople are understandably risk-averse and tend to manage risk by using tried and proven materials and practices. Sustainable outcomes often require the use of innovative materials and practices. To avoid problems later, ensure each builder is made aware of your commitment to a sustainable home when they are invited to tender.