This subject may have been written about a couple of times recently. But I think it is very important as in the past couple of weeks Fair Go has investigated building companies, and it seemed to me that the common themes were communication and the lack of good robust contracts and procedures.
As builders, we are dealing with the single most costly investment that owners will ever make, so we have a responsibility to make sure that every step of the process is as professional as possible.
There are plenty of guides to help you achieve this on the Registered Master Builders web site.
The first is the Master Builders contract. There are many variations of it to cover every type of building work that we do, and it is vital that this is the first step when starting a project.
The second would be to set up a programme, such as Microsoft Projects, if you haven’t already done this at tendering time.
If you look in the Best Practice Guide on the RMBA web site there are some very good tips on how to go about this.
A detailed payment claim should accompany every invoice that the client receives. It is vital this contains any variations and additions to the contact.
Something else to consider is to give the client a “cost-to-complete” with every payment claim.
This means you have made it quite clear what the cost to date is, so the client has up-to-date knowledge of where the project sits in their projected budget.
This cost-to-complete information, in my experience, avoids disputes over money at the end.
This continual updating of the financial progress of the build gives the client the opportunity to alter and update their projected budget. Again, the Best Practice Guide has good examples of these.
From then on, as far as I am concerned, it is all about communication between the building team and the client.
With every dispute I have been involved with in my various roles at the RMBA, this has been the common theme.
Sometimes it is best just to sit back and think about the situation from the other person’s point of view — how would you feel if it was happening to you?
Best form of advertising
Just remember, building a home is a deeply personal and emotional journey for most people, and you want a happy outcome for everyone at the end — after all, this is your best form of advertising!
I hope this doesn’t sound like a lecture, but it is disappointing to see the Registered Master Builders logo on Fair Go, as it affects all Master Builders.
As the demand for our services increases we need to ensure builders have great systems in place to help them in every situation.
So, if you are struggling with any of this, have a read of Ashley Hartley’s Best Practice Guide that he has written to help every Master Builder with developing great systems.