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It’s Tuesday, Where’s My Builder?

It’s Tuesday, Where’s My Builder?

On more occasions than I can remember, trouble has come about between builder and client because of one simple misunderstanding. Clients most often, believe that workers will be onsite every day of their renovation. This is unfortunately not true. But why?


It’s Tuesday, Where’s My Builder?

Believe it or not, most builders work on more than one job at a time. This is especially true on smaller jobs, it is simply too difficult to make a profit on small jobs where there is little margin for error. Working on a few (not too many) jobs at a time, provides the potential for a builder to make a small profit.

There is always the possibility that a builder could work only on one job, this is usually where the client has paid a premium price for the builder to do so. Think very small building companies where the builder is working predominately on the tools, with perhaps only an apprentice or an offsider, this small set up is able to cater to a client expecting the builder to be only working on their job.

For us to remain competitive in a very competitive industry, we need to be working on 2-3 mid size renovations at one time. This allows us to continue to have enough stock turn over, to receive reasonable pricing on our materials, and to keep enough work ahead of our sub-contractors so that they are able to keep working for us. This actually enables the jobs to run without so many delays for us, as if we were only focusing on one or two jobs at a time.

Where I really think the issue comes into place, is the lack of communication from builder to client. Most clients have not built or renovated before, and therefore rightly assume something will be happening on site each day. This is just not true, even if the builder is only working on one job. Various stages of the job will require the opportunity for materials to set or cure before you are able to work at the site again. This of course means a day or two without anyone on site. Sub-contractors such as electricians, painters, plumbers and plasters all need to be working for multiple builders to enable them to live. A plasterer is usually only required on a building site from 2-7 days, and that is their contribution for the building period. Therefore they require plenty of other work to keep them going, this creates scheduling problems at times, while the sub-contractors try to juggle all of there work.


To prevent communication issues each week we email out to our clients to give them an update on what to expect on their job for the week to come. It will list the days of the work week, who is potentially coming to their home, and what they are responsible for. This is a guide only, that allows our clients to plans for best case scenario. Of course there are always hiccups and delays, but this gives the best chance for our clients to plan for the disruption of what is to come.

At the end of the day, it is in the builders best interests to get your job done as quickly as possible. For each day or delay they are losing money. Builders want to get your job finished and you into your new and our improved home, as soon as possible. Every builder loves a happy client!

Have you built or renovated a home? How did you find the experience? What was one thing your builder could have done to improve your experience?

Nicole xxx


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  1. I suspect shows like The Block would have given your clients unrealistic expectations of how building renovations “should” happen and the availability of tradies at a second’s notice.

  2. I see it from both perspectives. Whenever I have trades at my home, I get frustrated and just want the job done and to know exact time frames and who is attending when. On the other hand, the tradies wife knows it doesn’t work like this and our customers too expect 100% attendance every day of the week. It just doesn’t always work like that unfortunately!

  3. Communication or lack thereof was probably the most annoying thing in our recent renovation. The builder would just disappear and I’d have no idea when they would be coming back! I understood that they had other things on but as we were living in the house while renovating it was hard never knowing when or if they would turn up or for how long “going for a quick smoko” was often actually days!! I was pretty easy going with them but that really did annoy me.

  4. Communication is definitely the key on this one. And also clients need to realise too that the juggling of sub-contractors is a tough one too. There are so many factors that contribute to a house build/reno, but if there is good communication that is half the battle.

  5. The house across the road is having a big reno done on the back of it plus getting a pool in. The way I am treating it though you would think it was my reno. I have tabs on the whole thing (the back of the house is my direct view) and the builders obviously have had a few jobs on the go. Currently it is full steam ahead… though I can’t figure out what they are currently doing with a bulkhead type thing on the back. ?

  6. We had a gorgeous builder with our renovations a few years back. Well, he was gorgeous to us but I think the sub-contractors had a level of respect that bordered on fear. He only did one job at a time and to a very strict deadline, which he kept to. I think he was just a brilliant project manager (and having such tight control over his sub-contractors helped).

  7. I think it’s fantastic that you email the clients and give a rundown of what they can expect for the upcoming week. That would make such a difference! Great communication is what is lacking a lot these days (in relation to many tradespeople) so hats off to you guys! So many times you are left in the dark not knowing when you will see them next or what day or time they might turn up. It sure can make it difficult to plan your days when that is the case!!

  8. Wow. You send an email each week to your clients? That’s AWESOME. I think communication is so important in all facets of life. If everyone could communicate effectively wouldn’t the world be a fabulous place. Lol! We built a house and moved into it about 7 months ago. The experience was pretty good actually. I had a contact who wasn’t one of the tradies but it was his job to liaise with clients and put us in touch with the tradespeople if needed. He had his finger on the pulse and was always available to answer questions and offer advice. Nothing was ever too much trouble. There’s not much I’d have suggested our builder do differently but would have loved the week’s schedule in an email. I’d have looked forward to it each week. Sounds like you run a tight ship ?

  9. Sending an email each week is a fantastic idea, well done, I’m sure most builders don’t do that! My reno builder sends texts quite a bit with updates, including the night before if I’m to expect workers outside at 7am which is nice. Otherwise he just tells me when to expect trades or deliveries. His high level of communication was one of the reasons I picked him actually cos it is rare. I must say though, I do get “jealous” when he’s on other work sites and ours gets delayed, mostly when bad weather sets everyone back ?

    1. Sending the email helps us, as much as the clients to understand what is coming. It’s a great planning tool for us in the business, and likewise for the home owner. Text updates are just as effective. Everything is so much easier, when you know what to expect. I suspect the “jealousy” is very normal. xx

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