Welcome to the world of building your own home. If you haven’t done this before it can be the most exciting and frustrating process to ever challenge a person.
Once you commissioned a builder and they tell you everything you want to hear, the architect has recommended them and the QS is giving you everything you want and all within budget you literally couldn’t be happier… well maybe not!
As we see regularly on building shows such as Room To Improve is that it’s really rare that things go directly to plan, it takes longer and costs more!
Have a rock-solid plan
From finding a suitable lot to build on, to getting all the required paperwork and permissions in order, to finding a building contractor, to selecting a design and finishing scheme, pretty much every aspect of the construction process must be planned for well in advance.
Create a comprehensive action plan with budgets and timelines for every desired outcome and leave nothing to chance. Don’t just plan for the expected – plan for the unexpected as well.
What happens if your builder accidentally cuts through a water mains during construction? What if certain permissions do not come through on time? What if certain materials are not available? Planning for every eventuality is perhaps the most important step toward eliminating delays and keeping things on plan.
Be intentional and decisive
When you make a decision after giving it due thought and consideration, make sure to stick with it and follow through on executing it. The easiest way to create delays and bottlenecks in your house building project is to change your mind about something midway through. So you chose ceramic floors, but midway through you start to wonder whether hardwood floors would work better even though it wasn’t part of your plan. Don’t. Do. It. Really.
Apart from the fact that you can expect to tack on a few more weeks onto your construction schedule, even a tiny change can have all sorts of unintended consequences that can dramatically escalate costs or even threaten the entire project altogether. Once you decide on something with your builder, follow through on it single religiously.
Make sure you have all the money you need
This is a surprisingly common mistake that home builders often make during the planning stage. Even if the bank has committed to crediting your mortgage account on a particular date, or you are expecting a payment before a specific date, do not plan as if you already have that money.
Wait for all payments you are expecting to come in first and then you can start to execute your budget.
The last thing you want is to be left red-faced with a returned cheque or failed debit, struggling to explain to a supplier or tradesperson that you’re really not trying to stiff them, but there must be a mistake from the bank…
Ensure that everything you will order is available
This is particularly important for materials that are key to your build, or cannot be replaced easily. Weeks before commencement, you should do a spot of research to confirm that all the materials and items you will order in the course of the build are available in the quantities that you need.
Never assume that a supplier must have something in stock because on the off-chance that they don’t, you could be facing expensive delays to your project while you run around sourcing it from elsewhere.
After selecting a winning bid, your communication with the contractor has only just begun. It’s not a good idea to assume that “they know what they’re doing so I’ll just stay out of their way”.
In many cases, you need to be in constant contact to properly communicate what you want and how you want it. The contractor’s job is to render their services and get paid – not to read your mind. If you don’t get your builder to observe your vision, they still end up with a cheque regardless, while you end up with an unsatisfactory house.