Are you planning a home extension to finally create your perfect dream home? One of the most important decisions you will make when you are doing a house extension is choosing the right builder for the project.
Choosing the right builder can help you to:
- Create a good quality, well-built house extension that will enhance your lifestyle
- Give you the home you and your family will love living in for many years to come
- Considerably increase the market value of your home
Choosing an inexperienced and incompetent builder will eventually work out more costly in the long run.
When choosing the right builder for your house extension here are some important things to consider so you don’t get caught out.
Find Out More About Your Builder
When it comes to your house extension you want to know you’re working with a professional and reputable builder. A builder who has just arrived in your area may have left another area because they couldn’t find work or had acquired a bad reputation. If you can talk directly with former clients or people you know and trust in your area, you will get a better idea about the quality of their work and their reliability. Opt for a local builder who has been successfully building around the area for many years.
Also, a skilled, reliable and experienced builder who has consistently produced great results is going to have a large following of satisfied customers. Check their website and/or social media accounts, at the very least, they should have testimonials from happy clients. It is also helpful if you are able to see examples of their work.
Are They Licensed And Qualified?
All reputable builders must be registered and licensed in order to undertake work on a house extension in Queensland. You can always check this through the state authority. If your builder isn’t licensed, steer clear. Ask to see your builders Building Services Authority (BSA) license number which should always be easily available and easy for you to view on your builders advertisements, business cards or website.
In order to get a builder’s license in Queensland there are a number of conditions that need to be met including formal qualifications related to the class of licence they hold, experience, personal and financial references.
The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) currently licences builders in the classes of:
- Builder – Open
- Builder – Medium Rise
- Builder – Low Rise
- Builder Restricted to Kitchen, Bathroom & Laundry Installation
- Builder Restricted to Shopfitting
- Builder Restricted to Structural Landscaping
Each licence class has a Scope of Work describing the work able to be performed under that class. It is important that the work your builder intends to perform is covered in the Scope of Work and if it isn’t they may need to obtain a licence in more than one class.
What Types Of Licences Are There?
- Builder Licence – A builders licence is needed for contractors who want to contract or subcontract to carry out building work. This class of builder licences also allow trade coordination. A builder must ensure all trade contractors on your building sites are licensed. It is an offence for any builder to engage unlicensed contractors.
- Nominee or Site Supervisor Licence- A supervisor cannot contract or subcontract to carry out building work, but can supervise and perform the physical work while employed by another licensee. A nominee supervisor can only be a nominee for a building company.
Find Out If They Specialise In House Extensions
You might be thinking any builder can complete your home extension but actually not all builders are the same. Different builders have different skills and specialties. Some builders choose to concentrate specifically on new homes, some do general building work, others focus on home extensions, renovation, additions and some specialise in commercial building.
The ideal builder you should focus on finding for your house extension project must be a domestic builder and specialise in extensions, renovations, and additions. A commercial builder will not usually take on a home extension project and a new home builder may not give your project the attention to detail that it deserves.
There are some special skills that are needed when building home extensions, additions or renovating. It can be significantly more difficult than building a new home so it is worthwhile doing your research to find a versatile builder or company who is experienced specifically in renovations, additions and home extensions. This type of builder will be able to adapt their work to the style of your home and seamlessly integrate the extension to create your dream home.
Find Out If They Have Done A Similar House Extension
Unlike building new homes, which are often built from off the shelf templates, extensions come in all shapes and sizes, and can be as different as the homes to which they are being added. Whether you’re extending up or out, when looking for a house extension builder for your project, it’s a good idea to seek a builder who has performed a similar project to the one you have planned or has a number of years experience with similar projects. This is especially important when it comes to period or heritage homes like so many Queenslanders around Brisbane. These types of homes often have extra requirements or skills needed to seamlessly integrate an extension, so if you are looking to extend or renovate a Queenslander look for a builder who is experienced in this style of home. It may even be worth finding a builder who has completed projects in the same suburb or surrounding areas.
Types Of House Extensions
There are many types of house extensions that may work for your home. Building an upper storey can often be the most expensive choice, but will suit homes on a smaller plot of land. Other options can include:
- ‘Up and under’ extensions are popular for Queenslander style homes and involve building extra living space beneath the house
- Single storey side and rear extensions
- Garage conversions
- Upper story addition
What Makes A Good Builder?
It’s important to find a builder with whom you feel comfortable and with whom you can connect.
The ideal builder will:
- Ask questions and listen to your goals and vision
- Work hard to understand your lifestyle and recommend the products and design that will fit best
- Be fully transparent and happy to answer every question from the start
- Give you a timeline and a comprehensive estimate in a prompt manner
- Tell you about their building philosophy
- Explain what products they use
- Have good relationships with all the different contractors who will be helping build your home
Avoid builders who:
- Have trouble answering questions clearly
- Take long periods of time to respond
This may be an early warning sign that you will experience frustration with communication throughout the build. You want a builder who responds promptly and makes you feel like you’re their only customer from start to finish.
How Much Does A House Extension Cost In Australia?
Building a house extension is not a small, cheap project, and does require qualified and experienced professionals to get the job completed to the highest quality standards. By not working with experienced professional builders on your home extension the end result can be that things need to be redone and this will cause you and your family stress, time and cost you more money. Basic home extension costs will include your labour and materials but you will need to consider other professionals that might be involved including interior designer, a draftsperson, an architect or a structural engineer.
Many people make the mistake of using the cheapest quote as a benchmark without fully investigating the quality and integrity of the builders. If you are getting quotes be mindful that you’ll naturally gravitate towards the cheapest quote. This can be a big mistake. The cheapest quote might come from a builder who needs the work because they don’t have a good reputation. The cheapest quote may also leave out important inclusions that will end up costing you more than a higher quote. Do your research to find out about people’s experiences with the builder, projects they have completed and the professional experience and licenses that they have.
If you are planning a home extension contact Josh Lauder, owner and director of Lifestyle Homes and Renovations QLD (LHR) to Request A Quote and discuss your requirements. Josh has over 20 years experience in the building trade. Working as a carpenter for the first 7 years, 2 years as a supervisor and the last 11 years as a registered builder. Josh is a local 4017 family man who has been building in the area for over 10 years.
Lifestyle Homes & Renovations Qld
Lifestyle Homes and Renovations QLD (LHR) is a small and reliable family-owned building company that is locally based in Shorncliffe, specifically servicing the Moreton Bay and Pine Rivers region, as well as Brisbane’s Northside. LHR undertakes all types of residential building work. No job is too large or too small – whether it be a full renovation, house extension or a simple bathroom update – they can help make your vision a reality.
The experienced, hand picked team at LHR provide personal service from start to finish and work tirelessly to meet the needs and expectations of their clients. Owner Josh Lauder is extremely proud of his company’s reputation of delivering a quality product on time and on budget, and always ensuring happy customers after each renovation.
At Lifestyle Homes & Renovations Qld (LHR) we always aim to be open and honest with our clients and involve them in the entire process, from concept to completion. Contact us to find out more.