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DEVELOPER CHECKLIST: QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR MULTI-UNIT BUILDER

Once a multi-unit build is underway, a developer and builder need to work closely together, possibly for an extended period of time, to achieve successful results. So, to establish a healthy building relationship from the outset, one that continues to deliver throughout the duration of a multi-unit development project, we suggest you ask your potential builder as many questions as possible. This includes questions about past clients, as well as sub-contractors and suppliers.

Reputation is a key indicator of performance

Establishing the builder’s reputation is not often achieved via direct questioning of the builder, but rather it is uncovered by asking the broader development community their opinions and knowledge of track records. The importance of how a builder is perceived can never be underestimated, especially when it comes to an investment as large as a multi-unit development.

After all, the building industry is no different to any other industry in Australia; people talk and dissatisfied people tend to talk the loudest. So, ask around, and if you start to hear negative buzz surrounding a builder, pay attention and do plenty of research relating to their suitability.

 

Drury St Jesmond Multi-unit development

Ask to see the builder’s portfolio

Ensuring a builder understands the style and unit designs required for a development is critical. If the builder specialises in a certain style, be it large scale off-the-plan projects or small bespoke unit designs, make sure it aligns to your style and investment plans. In addition to the many styles available, past multi-unit developments’ project size and budgets are other points to take note of when looking at a multi-unit developer’s portfolio.

Take special notice of materials, finishes, and the unit designs floor plans, which will all indicate the standards you can expect from them if a future development were to go ahead. And while photographic portfolios are a great place to start, try not to rely on portfolios such as these to answer all of your development questions. By visiting some of the completed projects that enjoy some similarities with your multi-unit development, and the specific unit designs, can help determine if that particular builder is up to the scope and budget of your multi-unit investment ambitions.

 

Their team will be your team, so get to know them

A multi-unit development is a complex and often multiple-staged project. As such, there are many more people involved beyond the core team of sales, drafting and builders. A multi-unit development builder will also rely on the skills of their sub-contractors, plus the quality of the materials sourced from their suppliers. So ask any potential builder who they work with and try to gauge if they have a good relationship with them. A long-term relationship with suppliers and sub-contractors is a good sign that the builder operates professionally, and in-turn it may indicate the potential for future developments’ success.

Drury St Jesmond Multi-unit development

Registrations and insurances are a must

All registered builders have builder registration numbers, so that is an easy and obvious check to make. Builder memberships can also be useful to know, as it can provide assurances of industry approved performance levels, and these include the likes of Master Builders Association etc.

Then there are insurances. These are critically important, legally and financially. A multi-unit development builder is required to have adequate public liability insurance, as well as construction insurance. And you must make sure your build is going to include a Home Warranty Insurance. Any reputable multi-unit builder will be more than willing to outline this information without any fuss.

Costs and payments, what is the builder’s process

Costs to build a multi-unit development rely on many factors and you should become familiar with all of them. It is vitally important for any investor to understand all of the clauses in the contracts and read the fine print. Importantly, before signing anything you should know what is included in the fees; ask if the surveying fees are included and if soil testing costs are covered. Find out what is the pricing structure and the processes relating to unit designs variations or changes to the schedule of work. Ask, what are the payment processes? Also, a percentage of the overall cost to build a multi-unit development is expected before work commences, and you should know exactly what the costs to build a unit are, up-front.

Don’t be afraid to get into the specifics either. Specifics could include invoicing procedures, plus payment terms and schedules, as well as establishing the expectation of finalising payments at the conclusion of the build during handover.

Drury St Jesmond Multi-unit development back yard

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