At what point of a residential project should I contact a builder?
When exactly you should start contacting prospective builders slightly depends on who is involved in the project. For example, if you’re looking to complete a relatively simple bathroom renovation, a builder may be the first and only design/construction professional you contact.
‘Traditionally after your plans are complete, you might have an initial consultation with a builder to discuss the project, and then provide the documentation for them to tender on,’ explains Rebeka Morgan, director of BuildHer Collective. ‘However, there are many ways of running projects, and we are seeing more of our clients looking to value manage their project by getting builders in on the design phase, to both ratify costs and suggest some cost management to the structural works.’
In the case of BuildHer Collective member Maddie Witter, she started working directly with a builder immediately upon purchasing the home she planned to renovate, alongside Co.Kitchens in the initial phase to design her kitchen.
‘When I purchased the home, I put it as part of my settlement to be able to visit the site three or four times before closing, so that the builder could actually start giving me advice, and we could start building that floor plan,’ Maddie says.
For residential projects where an architect is involved, a builder will usually come on board soon after the very initial design plan.
‘Having the builder on board during the first steps opens the doors to early engagement with subcontractors allowing us to take advantage of their specialised knowledge,’ explains James. ‘Crucially, it also allows for realistic conversations around the build time and budget.’
Never Stop Group director Damien Collins says contacting a builder at this early project stage allows for a high-level price estimate and clear discussion about the overall intent.
‘A practical starting point is to send them over to their local Reece showroom to browse through their options for fixtures and fittings,’ Damien says. ‘This gives us an idea of whether they are looking for the top-of-the-line tapware, or just something simple, functional and high quality.’