Last updated 21 June 2016

Before approaching a builder, a likely budget should be considered. However, to ensure that the best value for money is obtained, it might not be appropriate to disclose that amount to the builder at the initial stage.

Before choosing a builder, a list of licensed house builders should be prepared and quotes obtained. This list can contain names gathered from friends, industry associations, advertisements, the internet, trade directories or material suppliers (e.g. hardware stores). When looking at advertisements for builders’ names, check for the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) licence number, which should be displayed by law. The best recommendation for a builder is frequently from persons who have used a particular builder and were satisfied. The following questions may help to decide whether a recommended builder will be suitable:

  • Were the sub-contractors easy to deal with and to have on the job?
  • Were any necessary cost variations discussed and agreed in writing before the variation occurred?
  • Was the work completed on time?
  • Was the work completed in a satisfactory manner?

Quotes

Check that the builders who have quoted are all quoting to do the same work. Obtain at least three or perhaps as many as five quotes. The standard of the builder’s quote documentation will give an insight into the builder’s competence. A builder who pays little attention to their paperwork may pay the same sort of attention to the building work.

Do not select a contractor by price alone. It is important that a person feels comfortable with and confident about the contractor, who is likely to spend a significant amount of time around the family home during the project.

Licensing requirements

Before engaging the preferred builder, a check should be made with the QBCC to ensure that the builder is licensed and to find out if there are any records of complaints or disciplinary actions against them. A free licence search can be conducted online at the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) website.

Under the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (Qld) (QBCC Act), all builders, building designers and most trade contractors must be licensed to do building work. If a contractor is intending to deal directly with the homeowner, they are required to hold a QBCC licence card that records the builder’s name. If the QBCC licence card is not produced, a person should not deal with that contractor. The card must be used to imprint the contractor’s name on the contract. Providing the name on the contract matches the name on the card, a homeowner will be protected by the insurance provisions of the QBCC Act.