Choosing a Builder in Melbourne

Builders Licence Check

Before carrying out any construction work around your home or office, it’s wise to conduct a builders licence check: Tips to consider when choosing your builder concern the currency of their registration, references covering similar type of work to your project, the amount of insurance available to them and any history at VCAT which they may have.

RFT Solutions can assist you in successfully choosing the right builders in Melbourne. Below are further considerations to be aware of to help keep your home extension costs or renovation costs down.

Project type

builders licence check choosing builderBuilders in Melbourne generally have a preference to construct new homes, add house extensions or complete home renovations. Some builders do all three. Constructing a new home can be the easiest and building costs the lowest if the land is clear and other houses are not close to the property boundaries. Melbourne house extensions are also relatively easy. Home extension costs will creep upwards if there is a difficulty joining the existing house seamlessly to the new extension or if the extension is upstairs.

Home Renovations are generally the most difficult. Each time a builder uncovers plaster from a wall or ceiling or removes floorboards it is unknown if the existing structure is in good shape or requires replacing. In terms of builder’s quotes, this can make accurate quoting difficult. However, the builder needs to make all reasonable effort to ascertain the extent of works required to achieve the required “scope of works” and quote the job accordingly.



Some builders in Melbourne will not bother submitting builder’s quotes quoting for projects outside a certain distance from their home. Builders’ quotes may be high to make it worthwhile spending time travelling that extra distance from their home. The same goes for their sub-contractors.


All builders in Melbourne have overheads that must be passed onto the homeowner. Generally speaking the larger the builder, the more people they have working for them and the greater their overheads. However some medium-large builders are able to keep their overheads down as they fabricate their own frames and pass those savings on to the homeowner or place large enough orders to wholesalers to receive discounts and/or have a large enough volume of work to allow smaller profit margins per job. All of these factors may influence the builder’s quotes.

Project size

Sometimes the size of the home extension or renovation will determine whether builders in Melbourne wish to submit a quote. There needs to be a large enough profit margin to make the submission of a builder’s quotes worthwhile.

A single owner building company can gain enough profit from an $80,000 home extension whereas a larger building company with more than one owner and extra overheads will need to increase your home extension costs to $100,000 or more and may decide not to submit a builder’s quotes.

Quoting style

The builder will require the working drawings and engineering design for quotation purposes and they are both necessary for obtaining a building permit.

Working drawings should include floor-plans, elevations, and perspectives. They should also include details of the materials to be used, including particulars on cladding, roofing, flooring and windows.

Before you start looking for builders in Melbourne, you need to make sure you have enough detail of what you want them to construct. The builder then knows what to quote on and so the builder’s quotes will be closer to the real cost with minimal variations. However, some builder’s quotes have extra added to the price in case they have overlooked something. See ‘Estimating rather than Quoting’.

Some builders do not like to give a breakdown of individual costs as it gives potential clients the opportunity to get prices from manufacturers – you could decide to obtain prices from window manufacturers once you know the builders price and you could decide to do this for many more elements in the scope of work – the builder misses out on adding their margin on these elements.


Estimating rather than Quoting

Most builders are busy working on current home extensions or renovations or writing quotes. Why would a builder bother wasting a half to full day quoting when they may not win the job? They want some feedback from you first.

Therefore, most builders will take 30 – 60 minutes of their time to submit an estimate or find out what your expectation of construction cost is. If they are within range of your budget they will then spend the time and effort required to submit a builder’s quotes.

To submit a quote the builder requires working drawings and engineering design.

The Building Contract

Do not sign with a builder who requests more than 5% as a deposit if the building contract price is greater than $20,000. Also, there are builders who load heavily in their favour the first two payment stages of the building contract. You end up paying for 80% of the contract price yet only 40% of the work is completed. Do not sign with this builder!

You and the builder are required to have a formal written contract that meets the requirements of the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995. It is a legally binding document between you and your builder and contains a variety of information including a start and completion date, details about progress payments and specifications for your new home, house extension or renovation.

Your builder may use a standard industry contract for domestic housing from their industry association (such as HIA or MBAV) or have their own drawn up.

The contract is a very important legal document. It provides a baseline in case a difference of opinion develops between you and your builder. If the correct information isn’t recorded in the contract, either as part of the original agreement or in a variation, it is not binding.

We can offer you further information concerning Melbourne architects, draftsmen, builders in Melbourne, building costs and builder’s quotes, and the quality Building Solutions that RFT Solutions can provide. RFT Solutions will inform you of the different stages of the building process and will assist you during the construction of your new house home extension or house renovation.

Need help with a builders licence check? You can Contact RFT Solutions by calling us on (03) 9421 2222 or send details of your building project via our Contact Us page. You can also find information on Melbourne house renovations, house extensions, kitchen renovations and bathroom renovations pages.

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