How to best work with your builder when renovating or extending


If you’re using builders to help renovate your property or put in extensions, it can be daunting to open quality communication with them.

It’s important to make early decisions and plan ahead with your builder to avoid too many stresses or disasters.

Sometimes there’s uncontrollables that can derail things but there’s 10 good starting points to working with your builder to minimise the risks.


1. List the parts of your home you love and the parts of your home you don’t and give it to your builder and designer so they get a clear picture of what you want to keep and what you want to change.

2. Create a budget so your builder knows what you want to build and how much you want to spend.

3. Ask your builder for some references so you’re confident in their work.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions so you understand the process and time involved to complete approvals and work.

5. Check that your builder is licensed.

6. If your building work is worth more than a certain amount you’ll need to make sure you sign a contract with your builder.

7. When discussing changes to plans, make sure you get written confirmation of the agreed changes, changes to the price and sign a variation document to approve it.

8. Make decisions on designs like colours, tap fittings and all those other fun things as early as you can because they can take some time to deliver if they are custom-made.

9. Make your invoice payments on time so the project keeps running.

10. Communicate, communicate, communicate. If things look like they are going wrong speak out before waiting until the end when it is too late and make sure you deal directly with the builder or their representative.


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