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What Can Go Wrong When Building Or Renovating?

What Can Go Wrong When Building Or Renovating?

Building and renovating is hardly a stress free time, and many issues can blow out to create bigger ones. We’ve all heard the horror stories of something catastrophic going wrong during a build or renovation, but what can it go wrong and how can you prevent it?

What Can Go Wrong When Building Or Renovating?

Education is the single biggest key to prevent issues with your build or renovation. There are some things that are not preventable, for example your builder going bust, but with a solid understand of the entire process, you can reduce the likelihood of this happening by asking all the right questions at the right time.

Let’s step through the key areas of what can go wrong when building or renovating.


If you have taken the time to work with your builder in the very early days, before the quote even, you will have a good understanding of their communication skills. My advice is not to work with a builder who has shown anything but exceptional communication skills right from the first contact.

If you’ve found your builder has waned in communication after the contract has been signed, have the confidence to be that client who asks the questions every step of the way.

Constantly remind your builder of your need for clear communication, back up any phone calls with emailed confirmation, especially if it involves dates, changes or selections.


There are a few things you can do to prevent major financial drama during your build or renovation. Generally there are 2 areas for concern, the builder going broke and the budget blowing out. There is little you can do to prevent a builder going broke as it will be a long term issue that started long before your job. Knowing the right questions to ask before you go into your contract will give you the best chance of this not happening.

Also paying your invoices as soon as you have determined the stage complete and within the payment period, will go a long way to ensuring your builder has the required cash flow to complete.

To address the budget blow outs, the simple way to ensure this doesn’t happen is twofold. Fixed price quotes are essential for preventing the chance of a budget blow out. We also highly recommend that you have a contingency budget of between 10-20%. This is especially helpful if you are renovating, as there is no one for a builder to accurately predict what is behind the walls of an older home.


Quality is a hard one to control from a clients point of view, however there are some steps you can take before you sign the contract to ensure that you have made the best choice of builder for your needs. Ask to see work completed previously. A good builder will be happy to connect you with previous clients and provide you the opportunity to walk through their build or renovation.

Likewise a full check of the builders license will outline any previous issues with your states governing body, however you should not leave it at that. In the very first meeting you have with your builder, ask them! Ask them if they have ever run a business under another license or if they have had a license in another state. You’ll get a good feel for them with these questions, as most builders are not prepared for the question and if they’ve done something incorrectly, they will likely show it with an wishy washy answer.

Google them, not just the business name, but the builders name as well. If they have done something wrong, you’ll be sure to find it on the internet, just make certain you take your search beyond the first page results.

We also encourage stage inspections to ensure that you can see the quality of the project yourself. If that isn’t your strong point, hire a building inspector to carry out the stage inspections with you. There are many who specialise in this style of inspection.

Time Blow Outs

When the time a job runs for blows out, both the builder and the client will feel the financial impact. Weather, materials shortages, late selections and variations will all fairly contribute to extensions of time. The key is to do all you can as the client to minimise these. Do everything you can to be sure your plans are as you want your home to be built, before the building begins.

Variations make for big time delays, and understanding your plans before your build, is the best way to have confidence in them. This shouldn’t stop you from requesting a variation if needed, but you’ll need to be aware of the time delay. This is where your contingency budget will be helpful.

Ensuring you get your selections in on time, is the very best way to assist your building with keeping the job running on time and on budget. Also be open minded for slight change if your selection is out of stock, or be prepared to wait. I have had clients who wish to be firm on tile selections, but often when out of stock it can add months of delays to the build while we wait for them to be shipped from overseas. That is fine if you have the budget to wait, but if your budget is tight, you’ll need to keep an open mind.

There is no 100% sure way to ensure nothing will go wrong with your build, but with our Inside the Build mini course, you’ll have all the information you need at your fingertips. Register your interest here, to save $50 on the early bird release of the course, and be sure you are best educated for your build or renovation.

Are you looking to build or renovate your home next year?

Nicole xxx


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