Written by Neil Rose, Managing Director at Diverse Builders

A few years ago we asked a retired school teacher to conduct a survey for us. He selected a sample of people who had built with us, and another group of people who had built with other companies. 100% of the people we’d built houses for said they would choose to build with us again. It was interesting that 50% of people who went with bigger companies said they’d come to us next time.

We’ve heard various stories that have confirmed we’re doing the right thing. For instance, there was a painter who was asked back to paint a home we’d built about five years prior. It had sold to new owners and they wanted more neutral wall colours. Despite the extreme weather we’ve had over that time, the painter was amazed there wasn’t a single gap or crack to fill.

It was nice too to hear from another client who was having her property valued. When she explained Diverse Builders had designed and constructed the home, the valuer said he’d add 10% because of the quality of our construction.

I guess it’s partly because Diverse Builders is a small, family business that we take pride in our workmanship and ensure every job helps to build our reputation. I’m pleased that people associate us with quality and I particularly enjoy being able to still trump our competitors on price. We exceed what is required by the Building Code of Australia with our standards for things like stud centres and the spacing of trusses. We also take the time to quote accurately rather, than taking the easy way out and building allowances into contracts.

I feel for people who sign contracts only to be told later they’re up for another $13,000 because their block has a soil type which requires more engineering in their slab. Our clients find great peace of mind in the fixed prices we set in our contracts.

Another thing our clients value is that we’re keen to stay in touch right throughout the building process. We make sure our building supervisor has the time to do his job properly. He only ever has up to 10 jobs on at a time, while we’ve heard of others having to cover 25.

He checks off an 8-page document for every house we build. It covers off lots of simple little things that make a big difference long term – like making sure there are no screws or pop rivets left in the guttering which could create rust over time.

As a builder, I’m often saddened when I hear stories about people who’ve moved into mass-produced project homes they’re not happy with. Often it’s because they’ve not thought to ask important questions about the structure of their new home and they’ve been sold just the bare minimum. I’ve heard so many stories of people moving in and finding that within two or three years they can see things starting to fall apart.

I’ve met electricians working for some of the big boys who know they have to be careful about the lights they install so they don’t emphasise problems with the ceiling. Unless ceilings are battened properly, they buckle and wave. It’s the sort of thing that is annoying once you’ve noticed it.

What’s worse, the issues caused by poor quality construction can reduce the value of your home, even if you plan to build and move on quickly. There’s no doubt that part of the thrill of building your new home is being able to make sure that everything is to your taste. Just be careful that you don’t get too distracted by those design elements and forget to focus on the hidden things that really matter. When you look at what you’re investing in your new home, you’re spending a lot on structural things that you don’t see. It’s really important to keep an eye on the quality of those things too.