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When it comes to choosing the right home extension company, there are five key criteria you should look out for, which will ensure a successful outcome: licensing and certification, insurance, workmanship guarantee, relevant experience, and strong communication skills. Let’s take a closer look at each of these traits in detail.
Licensing and Certification:
To work as a builder in Australia you must have a license & be registered. Each state and territory has their own selection criteria, which means that each builder must possess a mix of technical qualifications, skills, on-site experience, and knowledge. In NSW, there are three types of building licenses available: contractor license, qualified to supervise certificate, and endorsed builder license.
Keep in mind, just because a builder has a license or is registered, that doesn’t mean they are qualified to do home renovation work. Go one step further, make sure they have earned the correct certificates or diplomas, and that they have relevant on-site experience in home remodelling.
This cannot be overstated. Any builder who works on your home must have current and relevant insurance coverage. Below is a breakdown of the most common types of insurance every home extension company must have:
- Home Building Compensation Fund – This financially protects the homeowner if their builder is unable to complete the project or fix defects because they have become insolvent, died, disappeared, or had their license suspended.
- Contract Work Insurance – Covers the builder or tradesperson from loss or damage due to any construction-related activities. Typically, this insurance will cover all parties involved (i.e. project managers, contractors, and subcontractors) and, in some cases, materials and equipment.
- Public Liability Insurance – Covers the builder or tradesperson if anyone is injured as a result of doing building work. This is crucial for homeowners, because if the builder or tradesperson does not have Public Liability Insurance, the homeowner could be liable.
- Workers Compensation Insurance – This ensures that all employees are covered by their employer for workers compensation. Just like Public Liability Insurance, you could be liable to pay the cost of any claim if the employer does not have this coverage.
If you plan on extending an existing home, you must also notify your current home insurance provider, and they will update your policy to cover you for the different types of renovation liabilities (i.e. storm, vandalism, and associated renovation risks) until the building work is complete.
Warranties and Guarantees:
Every builder in Australia (except Tasmania) is legally required to purchase Home Building Compensation Fund prior to commencing building work. This gives homeowners peace of mind knowing their extension is guaranteed to be structurally sound and compliant with the Building Code of Australia.
Any residential building work, in NSW, over the amount of $20,000 requires Home Owner Warranty Guarantee. This insurance covers up to the amount of $340,000 and protects the homeowner for up to 6 years after completion of the work.
Some home extension companies go the extra mile by offering an extended guarantee on top of the standard 6 year limit. APEX Alterations & Additions proudly offers a 10 year structural guarantee for all new extensions and additions – in writing.
Building a new home addition or extension comes with its own unique challenges. For this reason, you want a builder who has a strong track record of completing projects that are similar to yours.
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to determine whether a builder is up to the task. Check out their online portfolio or gallery to view photos of their past work, including a brief project description and testimonial from the client themselves. Of course, you can go one step further and approach the builder directly to learn more about past projects they have done.
By gathering this info, you’ll be able to determine if the builder has the relevant experience to satisfy your unique project needs.
Strong Communication Skills:
Working with a builder who has good communication skills will always lead to better outcomes.
How so? For starters, you’ll be told in clear, easy to understand terms exactly what to expect during each step of the process. Secondly, you’ll get a quick response to all enquiries whether they be over the phone, via text message or email. And finally, you’ll have a greater sense of trust and confidence in your builder overall.
When you consider that you’ll be communicating with your builder on a near-daily basis, it’s crucial that your home extension company has this trait. Otherwise, it could lead to frustration and unnecessary delays.