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TIP ONE- Obtain accurate drawings:

Drawings should always be prepared by an experienced, professional draftsperson, building designer or architect. It is important to make sure that your drawings are accurate and concise. The more accurate your drawings, the more accurate your quotations will be.

TIP TWO-Prepare an inclusions schedule:

In addition to professionally prepared drawings, it is a good idea to provide tradespeople or builders with an inclusions schedule. The schedule details the fittings and finishes that you intend to use, and includes an indicative cost for those items.

TIP THREE-Look for experience:

When selecting a tradesperson or builder, make sure they have the right experience for the type of project you are undertaking.

TIP FOUR-Look for industry association membership:

Always select a tradesperson or builder who is a member of a well-regarded building industry association, such as the Housing Industry Association or the Master Builders Association. Both of these associations demand high standards from their members.

TIP FIVE-Consider what type of contractor to engage:

Consider carefully the type of tradesperson or builder you want to engage for your project. They could be a smaller, more hands-on contractor, or you might prefer a larger building company that has more staff and access to a number of trades, like carpenters, plasterers, painters and electricians.

TIP SIX-Seek advice from people who have renovated their home:

Have a chat to family, friends, neighbours or colleagues who are undertaking projects or have recently completed works similar to yours. Ask about their experiences with tradespeople and builders-would they recommend anyone to you? By sharing experiences, you can find reliable tradespeople and builders, and avoid the risk of ending up with incomplete or substandard works.

TIP SEVEN-Invite your shortlisted tradespeople or builders to the site:

In our opinion, every tradesperson or builder must visit the site to quote! Regardless of the scale of the project, take the time to invite your preferred tradespeople or builders to inspect the site before they complete quotations for the work. Quotes are likely to be more accurate after a tradesperson or builder has had the opportunity to see site conditions and identify any constraints.

TIP EIGHT-Get to know your preferred tradespeople:

We recommend that you have at least two or three meetings with your preferred tradesperson or builder before signing a contract. Get to know them well before you commit, and make sure you feel confident that you can build a good working relationship. Once you've received a quote, arrange a meeting to discuss it and go over the finer points. You should feel comfortable that you can communicate your ideas and then work with your selected tradesperson or builder for the entire project.

TIP NINE-Be prepared for variations:

You should always expect contract variations to arise, no matter how accurate your drawings or how well you've planned. It's worth taking the time to gain a good understanding of what is not included in a quotation. Consider what costs you might expect to pay if exclusions or variations do arise, and find out how your tradesperson or builder will deal with those variations.

TIP TEN-Beware cheap quotes:

Check and compare quotations carefully! A cheaper quotation might look good at first, but the builder or tradesperson might not have priced the work correctly. When quotations come in and one is a lot cheaper than the rest, it's important that you be absolutely certain that every one of the required elements has been included in the cheaper quote.

Keep in mind the old adage, "You get what you pay for!"


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