GREENSTONE BUILDING SOLUTIONS RENOVATON TIPS
A PROFESSIONAL BUILDER
When it comes to hiring a builder for your next project it is important to consider presentation,
experience, communication and reputation before you sign that contract.
It is important that your builder operates in a professional business-like manner. If they say they will
be there then they should show up and respect your schedule.
They should provide a written contract that clearly describes the work, timelines, price,
responsibilities of both parties and other details as would have been discussed prior.
They know through experience the cost of materials and labour, therefore are in the best position to
offer realistic cost effective construction solutions, to achieve your renovation goals and what will
work for your budget.
They should be able to organise and manage a project, keeping the site clean and safe and
minimising the inconvenience to you, and should be able to deal with any unexpected problems that
All professional builders will have reliable suppliers, tradesmen and experts they trust to do the work
needed for your project. They should offer both design and construction services and recommend
only experienced architects or draftsmen.
They should have an idea of the regulations and codes in your council area and know what is
needed for your project.
COMMUNICATION AND REPUTATION
Professional builders listen carefully so they know what you want and they put you first.
They work for you and with you to make sure that you are satisfied and happy with the final results.
You need to make sure that the builder you choose is experienced in the scope of work that you
require done and they shouldn’t be afraid to provide testimonials and references from previous
TEN GOOD REASONS YOU SHOULD HIRE
A PROFESSIONAL BUILDER
1 From start to finish. A professional builder will help you to put it all together – from ideas to
design, from products to plans, from construction to completion.
2 Experienced advice. A professional builder has the experience and knowledge to help turn
your ideas into great results. They listen, make suggestions, and look for the best way of doing
3 Technical know-how. Professional builders understand construction, how to deal with
challenges and problems, and how to improve the comfort of your home.
4 Expert teamwork. Behind every professional builder, there is a solid network of staff,
subcontractors and suppliers ready to go to work for you.
5 A proven track record. Their business is an open book. You are invited to talk with past
customers, look at their previous work and check out their reputation.
6 Accurate pricing. No need to be concerned about low-ball costing, inferior work or escalating
prices once the job begins. Professional builders know what it takes to do something right and
how much it costs, and they’ll tell you upfront.
7 A written contract. Trust alone is not enough; professionals back it up with a written contract
that spells your project out in detail – what, how, who, when and how much.
8 Liability insurance and workers compensation coverage. Better safe than sorry. In the unlikely
event of an accident or damage to your own or neighbouring properties, a professional builder’s
cover protects you from liability and cost.
9 Warranty. Like any other consumer purchase, a professional renovation comes with a warranty
on labour. And with professional installation, there is no risk of voiding the manufacturer’s
warranties on materials and products.
10 Service, service, service. Professional builders are in business for the long term. They work hard
to earn your trust and make every renovation a great experience.
QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD BE ASKING
ASK ABOUT THE BUILDING COMPANY
Make sure they have the experience and positive customer reviews. Find out how and when they
started the business, do they only use quality suppliers & reliable licenced sub contractors.
WHAT SERVICES DO YOU OFFER?
Every contractor will provide a specific range of services. Some will include design services, while
others will work with independent designers. Some may only do bathroom renovations while others
focus on extensions. You need to have a clear understanding of what services the contractor can
provide for your project and if they have the experience you need.
IS IT OK IF WE TALK TO PAST CLIENTS AND VIEW CURRENT PROJECTS?
Ask if you can contact some of there past clients, if they are not happy to do this be careful they
may not have happy clients. If you want to view a current project the builder will need to make sure
it is ok with the current clients (some may be ok and some won’t). Make sure you take note of details
such as how well the site is organised and whether it is clean and tidy.
DO YOU CARRY LIABILITY INSURANCE?
Make sure your builder has the appropriate insurances or it could put you at considerable legal and
financial risk. Professional contractors will provide you with proof of liability insurance.
WILL WE GET A WRITTEN CONTRACT?
All builders should offer a written contact. This is an agreement between you and your builder with
the scope of work to be done in detail, and the price you will pay to the builder. This should also
include a warranty incase any problems were to arise in the future. If a builder is not willing to give
you a written contract, find someone else.
HOW WOULD YOU DEAL WITH OUR PROJECT?
Make sure you are informed and understand the builder’s plans for your project. Will they need
design and working drawings before they are able to give you a firm price? Will it disrupt your
household? Will they clean up daily? How will you pay and when? The more questions you ask the
better. Communication is key in this industry so make sure you have this with your builder. At the
end of the discussion you should feel confident that they understand what you want and can help
you accomplish it.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
FIND A BUILDER YOU CAN TRUST AND ARE COMFORTABLE WITH
This is crucial to a good renovation experience. You need to check out the renovation builder’s history
including their past projects, customer recommendations and necessary registrations and licences.
FIND OUT WHAT SERVICES THE BUILDER OFFERS
Homeowners often don’t realise that many professional builders also provide design and planning services.
Even if you want to work with a designer or architect of your own choosing,
a builder can add a lot of value to the process
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A DETAILED WRITTEN CONTRACT
HIA building contracts are in plain language and set out the building process in a clear and concise manner.
BE INFORMED BEFORE THE WORK BEGINS
What does the work entail? How will it be done and by whom? How will it affect your day-to-day living
arrangements? Should you consider moving out? What if you have questions or want to make changes? The
more you know upfront about the whole process, the less anxious you’ll feel.
BE INVOLVED THROUGHOUT THE PROJECT
The best results come from good communication and a good working relationship between you and
your builder. You should be prepared to spend time going over drawings, monitoring the progress of
your project, and discussing decisions with your builder.
PLAN FOR SPEED BUMPS AND ROUND-A-BOUTS
The bigger the project, the more likely you will run into the unexpected, such as existing deficiencies hidden
in the walls, delays in special orders or bad weather. Be flexible and understand that some things are beyond
the builder’s or your control. If there is good rapport and trust between you and your builder, it is usually easy
to find a solution and to quickly move beyond the problem.
DECIDE ON YOUR FINISHES AT THE START
Typically, homeowners are responsible for choosing cabinets, flooring, tiles, fixtures and the many other
finishes that will complete the job. This can be time-consuming. Set aside plenty of time and begin early.
In some markets, there may be a significant delay for special orders. Take full advantage of your builder’s
experience to help you find the best options.
KEEP MONEY IN RESERVE FOR EXTRA
Once the work begins, it is not uncommon for homeowners to want to go an extra step like a better quality tile,
brand new appliances, and so on. Make sure you leave room in your budget for these expenses.
Finally, a caution – there is no way of completely avoiding the dust, the dirt and the inconvenience that
comes from a home renovation. But remember when it’s all said and done, the pleasure of living in your
newly renovated home will be worth it, if you take time to think first and make it what you really want.
TIPS FOR A “FUSS FREE” RENOVATION
KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
What do you need? How do you want your ‘new’ renovation project to look, feel and work for you
and your family? Do you have a plan? Have you explored all of your design options?
Fill in our “Your Renovation Goals” & “Wish List & Needs” checklist you can find them at
STICK TO YOUR BUDGET
Decide as early as possible how much money you want to spend. Let your builder know so he can
give you options within your budget. Remember that your budget should cover everything that may
arise from the renovation, including such items as new drapery, blinds and appliances if needed.
Chat to your lender about what you can afford if you need to finance the project.
Professional builders can conduct a thorough inspection of your home and offer suggestions for the
most effective sequencing of work over a period of time. Make sure you let your builder know what
your short and long term goals are for your family and renovation.
Fill out our “Future Needs” checklist you can find it at
INVEST IN QUALITY NOT ALWAYS PRICE
Be careful not to jeopardise the quality of your renovation project by compromising on the quality
of materials or craftsmanship. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. I know we all want value for
money and it is always tempting to go for the lowest price, but you need to consider the implications
if you choose a cheaper price. Professional and experienced builders will help you choose the best
products within your budget. Is your quote from different builders offering the same products and
ARE YOU PROTECTED?
A written HIA contract spells out the arrangements between you and your builder and describes
your renovation in detail.
IS YOUR BUILDER LICENCED?
Check with your state licensing body QBCC (QLD) to ensure the company has the necessary
licenses or registrations and whether anyone has lodged a complaint against the company.
LIVING WITH YOUR RENOVATION
The builder needs a good working environment and communication so the job can progress without
problems or delays with minimum disruption to you as a family. Good communication is key to a
good renovation experience and a satisfying result.
BEFORE THE WORK BEGINS
• Discuss the builder’s requirements for the work, including access to electricity and water
• on a regular basis
• Set clear rules of the house for the all the tradesmen that will be on site.
• Make sure, if needed, that council permits and approvals have been obtained.
• Greenstone will make every effort to avoid disruptions and minimise the impact
on your household.
• Your builder will let you know who the contact person is for your project, usually the site
supervisor or the builder personally and they will keep you informed of what is happening.
• The contract should clearly outline the project schedule and deadlines to which your builder
• Daily clean-up is part of the service and should be done by all tradesmen to keep a
clean & safe site daily.
• You need to protect your valuables cover or move anything that may be damaged by dust.
• Move furniture, curtains, artwork and or any important items that may be in the way of the
tradesmen. Also try to keep pets and children away from the work area.
• If you are choosing and or providing your own products make sure you have done that prior to
the builder needing them such as flooring, lighting equipment, tiles and kitchen cabinets.
• Keep changes to a minimum. Variation documents are amendments to the contract and must
be signed by both parties.
• You will be asked to make a number of smaller decisions as the work progresses.
• Make sure that your builder can reach you on short notice.
• Discuss your concerns as they arise, not when it’s too late!
• Provide payment as agreed upon in the payment schedule set out in the contract.
• Accept the unpredictable. Foul weather, unavailable products, unforeseen complications are all
part of the renovation experience and will be dealt with by your builder in a professional manner.