Essential Guide to Communication With Your Builder – Check it Out Before You Enter Into a Contract!
How Important is communication?
It is essential!
But when you are looking for a builder, how do you know you are going to get the levels of communication necessary to:
- ensure you get what you want;
- provide peace of mind;
- get you involved and excited about your journey, and;
- avoid any issues, mistakes or lengthy delays.
A lot of us probably think we are a good judge of character; I know I do. However, it still pays to ask specific questions and do your homework and let gut instinct compliment your findings as opposed to dictate them.
Some people have the ‘gift of the gab’ and could probably sell you anything – this is why it is important to get proof and look beyond a slick salesman.
In our opinion the best way to communicate is by using a variety of methods, and importantly there is the need to be flexible for individual clients and for differing situations.
Not all clients are the same. Everyone is unique and has differing communication requirements.
You might not live near your build. We have had a few who lived overseas whilst we built their homes. You might not have the ability for regular site visits, so you need reassurance and transparency via other means (these include video calls, telephone, emails and online job management systems).
You might like to meet face to face or over the phone, whilst others prefer emails. Some may not be as comfortable with technology as you. Is it more efficient to work through items and clarify them on site as opposed to discussions over the phone or emails? We certainly prefer regular fortnightly site visits but is this practical for you?
Understanding you and your unique set of circumstances are important to set up a communication process that works for you in what could be your biggest investment. Good communication inspires confidence, allays fears, and allows resolutions and progress to be made efficiently.
Some clients may be time poor and although they want access to the jobs progress, they want to pick and choose what they wish to discuss in detail. An online job management tool is excellent for these clients as they have 24/7 access to the jobs progress, schedule, photos, selections and tracked communication all in one easy to use secure cloud based programme.
It is important early on for you to discuss with the builder what your expectations are and how you prefer to communicate.
Ask them how they communicate on a job?
See how they respond to situation based, as opposed to general, questions, such as:
If we decide we want to change an item in the house once the build has started, how do we communicate and agree on this?
Tip: Do they have a system in place for variations? Do they have a means of recording the choices, approvals and cost implications that is both transparent and timely, for example does their online job management system have the capability to do this?
How often can we meet on-site?
Tip: Regular site meetings are a great way to keep abreast of developments, discuss upcoming milestones, discuss any changes you might want to make. The latter is important as you can now better visualise the layout, sizes, possible furniture placements, so you may decide to alter some things where it’s possible (bearing in mind the constraints of the consent & building stage).
I am often away for reasonable periods of time and cannot always get to site, how do you keep me informed on the progress of my build?
Tip: This is where an online job management tool is invaluable. Dependent upon the job management software your builder uses, communication can include; decisions made and recorded on house selection items, the jobs schedule/progress regularly updated, photos can be uploaded, variations can be costed and approved, and communication made on items and recorded on an easy to track platform. You get a secure log in and may be able to request daily, weekly or live updates, via email, of changes made to your jobs online project.
To Find out more about what to ask your Builder before signing a building contract download our ‘7 Things You Must Ask Before Signing a Building Contract’ here. This guide offers invaluable independent advice in a straightforward manner. It provides you with the questions to ask and the information to check, ensuring you get the builder and the result you want. This great resource is a fantastic place to start your journey and will help ensure it is an enjoyable one!