Written by Jake Brady

Choosing Your Builder

The process of renovating, extending or creating a brand-new home is unique and requires plenty of expertise and planning with a number of different parties. Choosing the right builder is therefore essential to the success of your building journey, as they can dramatically affect the end result!

The first thing to do is to match your project to the right type of builder. Generally, the residential construction industry can be split into two categories: project home builders and custom home builders. Who you choose is completely dependent on the type of home you are wanting.

Project Home Builders

Project home builders typically concentrate on large volume. The designs are already formulated and it is just a case of selecting which design you are after.  

The final figure paid will depend on the inclusions selected. If you wish to customise one of the set designs to match your needs, it is common for the project builder to not provide a price adjustment until you sign a contract.

Generally, a project builder will not take on a project that appears to be complex – for example, on a challenging site or more than two levels.

Custom Home Builders

A custom home builder is generally a boutique company that will produce your home exactly to your brief, personally running the project with a flexible approach to meet your needs.

The house can be designed to suit you, and importantly your block of land. You can be involved in the entire process, from the first meeting with the architect to material selection. The builder will maintain a close relationship with you until the project is completed.

A custom home builder will also accommodate a change of mind mid-construction. This gives you a chance to improve the design as it materializes, which ultimately results in a superior dream home.

Selecting Your Builder

Once you’ve decided what type of builder you are after, it’s time to choose a specific company. For the purposes of this, we are focusing on custom home builders.

Your choice of builder to partner with should not be taken lightly – after all, if you make a decision on a whim and it ends negatively, you could end up with a massive bill and no home!

A good builder has the following attributes:

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills 

  • Sound organisational skills 

  • Trustworthy 

  • High attention to detail 

  • Honesty 

  • Specialist skills 


In order to qualify this information, you can do the following checks:

  • All builders have to be licenced. NSW Building and Construction Department of Fair Trading offers an online licence search, which shows what type of licence your builder holds and any history
  • Verify a builder’s reputation by going through their past work and speak with past clients
  • Check if the builder has won any industry awards
  • Confirm how long they have been in business for.
  • Ask to see their quality control measures
  • Identify their insurance level
  • Find out what type of contract they use. Master Builders or HIA contracts are generally best practice.
  • Ask yourself ‘can I work with this builder?’