Here are a few tips to bear in mind when choosing a builder to build your home:

  • Ask family or friends if they have any recommendations – good builders have good reputations, likewise for bad builders. This step alone should help you to narrow down the field.
  • Check to see whether they are a recognised Greensmart builder and what other professional bodies they are affiliated with.
  • Your builder must have a license. Ask to see this license or check with the Builders Licensing Australia website.
  • They should also have home warranty insurance, ask to see this too.
  • Ask for examples of their work. Make sure that you visit some of the homes that they have built – not just display homes that tend to demonstrate their ‘best practice’, but also homes that are currently under construction.
  • Look at their track record and check how long they’ve been in business.
  • Ask them about their experience in sustainable building practices. Try to ascertain whether they have a real commitment to sustainable building (i.e. whether it’s their core business) or whether it’s something they do when they have to.
  • If your builder says that they comply with the energy efficiency requirements of the Building Code of Australia, remember that this is simply complying with the minimum acceptable standard set by government. It is not best practice as it only addresses energy efficiency in conditioned spaces (i.e. mechanically heated and cooled homes) and suggests little commitment to sustainable building practices.
  • Look at the fact sheets on this website and ask your builder some questions to understand the depth of their knowledge. For example, you could ask them about water harvesting, grey water systems, low allergen homes, sustainable materials or embodied energy. You will soon get an idea of the depth of their level of commitment.
  • Ask for a quote. Ensure that your quote includes a list of materials, their price as well as labour estimates. This protects you shoulder your builder try to change his or her mind and use the old ceiling instead of replacing it. Be aware that compiling such a detailed quote can take a few days, so your builder may possibly charge for this service. However, if your builder has a good reputation, it is probably worth paying for this.
  • Perhaps most importantly, check the human factor. Do you think that this person will understand your needs and that you will be able to work well with them?