How To Brief Your Builder

Building a home can be costly and time-consuming. Still, it’s of great value to involve a builder to create a living space based on your preferences and lifestyle. And like any other significant project, it requires proper preparation and collaboration.  

As an aspiring homeowner, consider what you want to achieve and convey them clearly to your chosen home builder. Creating a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves can be an excellent way to start, but the collaboration should continue.  

From selecting the right building materials to conceptualising the design, here are some insights on how to brief your builder and get the desired results.

1. Set your objectives

Much of the home’s design and layout will depend on what you want to get from the project. Building a house requires a substantial investment, and you must set clear goals to avoid costly mistakes and project delays.  

Having your plans finalised is crucial before contacting a home builder. Doing so helps them align with your goals and leads them in the right direction. For instance, you may need more than a two-bedroom dwelling if you want your home to accommodate a family of five. If you have a small lot, consider building a two-story house to optimise space. Similarly, building a deck can fulfil your goal of having a yard that can double as an outdoor recreational area.

2. Do your research and let your builders know

If you need to learn more about home construction, now is the time to gather the information you need so you can speak with your contractor better. For instance, you may want to research energy-efficient materials and designs or solar panel installation costs when building a sustainable home 

Additionally, learn about the best and most durable materials and determine each item’s pros and cons. Visit a building materials store for product availability. Also, search websites to find durable building materials and appealing designs matching your motif. You can even print out these samples and attach the images when creating a design brief for your contractor. 

Besides confirming that your builder is legitimate and has a good reputation, gather basic information about local building regulations and your responsibilities as a client. Doing so helps avoid surprises and misunderstandings in the future. 

3. Be clear when discussing project specifics

Setting clear objectives and collecting information will enable you to discuss confidently with your chosen builder. Discuss the specifics with the project manager instead of saying you want a deck built on your eco-friendly home, ask about what building materials Australia has in stock and confirm whether these are ideal for your location.  

More importantly, discuss the following points openly and see if you and your contractor need to make adjustments.     

  • Budget: According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the median cost of building a home in the country is around AUD$473,000. However, the price could vary depending on the size, design, and project site conditions.  

Nevertheless, disclosing how much you’re willing to spend on your home is vital, so your builder can work with you to keep the project costs manageable. In addition, set aside up to 10% of the price for contingency expenses, considering construction material prices are going up. 

  • Building details: Discuss the general and specific details of the project with your contractor if you want to get your desired results. Indicate your motif and colour schemes, fixtures, finishes, interior and exterior layout, fittings, and additions like a deck, patio or driveway. 

Building specifications can significantly impact the project schedule, cost and the home’s final look. So, it’s a fundamental discussion to have when briefing your builder. 

  • Timeframe: Estimates reveal that building a home in Australia takes four to 12 months, with high-quality homes taking the longest to create. Discuss when you plan to move into your dream home with your contractors so they can make the necessary adjustments. For instance, luxury building companies may need more time to gather materials for your bespoke home. Likewise, be ready to adjust your timeframes or design, whichever is more important. 

These three points are among the most crucial aspects when building your dream home. Discuss them clearly with your builder and consider using images as design reference.

4. Establish communication protocols

Open discussion is key to project success. It’s essential to build communication rules even before the start of the construction. Ask the project manager about their communication lines and make it clear that the manager can speak to you or your spouse about project-related issues. Similarly, proactively raise your concerns and feedback before, during and after the project. 

Concluding thoughts

Being as straightforward as possible in conveying your wishes and preferences lets the contractors know that you mean business. However, it’s essential to hear their opinions and consider them before finalising your decision.  

Encourage the builder to tell you if your plan is realistic and review your goals and priorities before agreeing. Be cordial but firm in asserting your non-negotiables. Doing so can avoid mistakes that require significant revisions and high costs.

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