6 Top Tips for Owner Builders
ARE YOU LOOKING TO SAVE MONEY ?
WANT THINGS TO RUN SMOOTHLY ON YOUR PROJECT
ACHIEVE THE OUTCOME YOU DESERVE
HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR YOU THE OWNER BUILDER
DON’T START ANYTHING UNTIL YOU READ THIS
1. JOIN A BUYERS GROUP
There are plenty of buyers groups around that Owner Builders can join for a very small yearly fee. Tell them you are a developer, and you can get access to material suppliers that will let you the Owner Builder buy at the same prices as builders and sometimes even better. Also you can get access to to the contractors they have on their books.
Most of these buyers groups are fairly particular about what contractors can join them. Any dodgy ones are soon kicked out.
For around $100 joining fee you the Owner Builder can enjoy big savings by tapping into their buying power.
2. GET ORGANISED – PRETTY OBVIOUS HEY!
Before getting quotes make sure you have all relevant information available for the contractor. You will need numerous copies of Architectural and Engineers drawings and any other relevant information. Everyone will want a copy and you won’t get them back.
Get down to Office Works and start printing and make sure you get the plans on pdf and email everything.
Get your diary and write down when the quotes are, keep all contractors name on file and make sure you get their email address.
The more organised you are the more controlled things will be.
3. CHECK OUT YOUR TRADESMAN OR CONTRACTOR
Go to the Building Services Authority Website [BSA] and make sure the contractor is licensed to do your work.
See if he has a good record. Get some references, why not contact his former clients and see if they are happy with his work and has done a good job.
If the contractor asks for a big deposit don’t do it. A small deposit is fine but don’t pay the rest until total completion. If you aren’t quite happy pay most of it but hold a small amount back until you are.
Be comfortable with the contractors you choose and go with your gut instinct.
4. SCHEDULING THE TRADES AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT
This is critically important for Owner Builders and will prove the most difficult part of the job. Even Builders struggle with this and you are going to get delays during the building process.
As an Owner Builder you need to make sure you need to know who does what first and who follows who.
Try to work with people who have worked together before and can work some of the scheduling out between themselves.
Keep the contractors in the loop. Once the house is lifted the plumber needs to know when to come in, then the concretor needs to know when the plumbing is inspected and finished.
Keep the job rolling, book the tradesman in and give them as much notice as possible and always ring a day or two before to make sure they are coming when you expect.
There doesn’t need to be lots of down time on the job when nothing gets done just because your scheduling is not going well.
Good luck with your project management. Good management by Owner Builders can save you thousands and get you back in your house on schedule.
5. TRUST YOUR CONTRACTOR OR TRADESMAN
Your tradesman is there to help you. Milk him for information, find out if he thinks things can be done better than you have suggested. You will be surprised, you could save yourself some time and money by taking advice.
Architects and Engineers aren’t on site much, most of them are great at drawing things on paper but often there is a more practicle way. Take advantage of the tradesman experience but don’t pester him about every little thing or nothing will get done and he won’t be happy. Trust your tradesman, he wants to do a good job, but let him get on with it.
Don’t use tradesman who say “that can’t be done” go with a can do contractor.
6. DOT YOUR I’S AND CROSS YOUR T’S
If you are going to sign a contract with a contractor make sure you are getting what you think you are. The Owner Builder and the contractor need to be clear on what is expected.
Make sure plans are detailed, if your plan shows timber floor make sure you know what sort of timber it is.
If the contractor is going to supply the light fittings make sure the plan shows how many and what type. He may be thinking cheap and you may be thinking high end. If its not detailed on the plan you won’t get it.
If it’s not on the plan it will become an extra and tradesman love extra’s. If it’s going to be an extra, get a written quote before it is done or you may get a nasty shock. It could prove the difference between having enough money left for landscaping or leaving your project not quite finished.
Enjoy the experience, being an Owner Builder should not only be a challenge but should be fulfilling. Have faith in your contractors, don’t stress the little things you’ll go mad.
PS. I have more tips if you are interested, I can even put you in contact with other Owner Builders who have done it all before.
Give me a call on (07) 3857 6758 or send me an email and see what we can do for you.
FROST CONCRETE SERVICES – HELPING OWNER BUILDERS JUST LIKE YOU FOR OVER 10 YEARS