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Who I Wouldn’t Build My Home With

Who I Wouldn’t Build My Home With

I have learned a lot of things in my time in the industry, one of the most important things I have learned, I would like to share with you today. Now if you have come for the sensational name and shame here, you are in the wrong place. I believe all builders have their merits, and suit different circumstances. I am not one to talk down about other builders to elevate myself, that said, there is a group of people I would not feel confident in having built my home, and this is based rather a lot more on my lack of knowledge that anything else.

Who I Wouldn’t Build My Home With

There is an issue I have every time I go to site, that no matter how much training I do, or how much I have learned in my 6 years in the industry, I still have this issue. It is this issue that has led me to write this post today, it concerns me greatly as I see a trend growing, that others won’t understand the potential pitfalls of this before agreeing for these people to build their homes.

I’m talking about builders who have not been tradies. There is a growing trend now, of builders who are not tradies. You see anyone can get a builder’s license with the right study, in fact I have considered it myself, however the one point I keep tripping over, is just how much of the technical every day stuff I simply do not have a great knowledge base on, due to never having been on the tools. I could further this by saying that trades who look after a small part of the job, would in my opinion struggle to have the knowledge base required as well.


My concern with this type of builder, is how they can effectively problem solve, or ensure that the trades under their control are doing a quality job. That said builders without a lot of trade experience would be in a very similar situation. I am of the belief that it takes years to inherently understand a house and how it needs to be built or renovated from the ground up and you need that inherent knowledge to problem solve and to ensure the job is of a high standard.

I know this is going to be an unpopular opinion, however I feel it needs a voice. Although written in a very general way, I do believe there are exceptions to every rule and that each and every client should deeply research their builder’s abilities prior to signing a contract. If you are confident that chances are your confidence will be rewarded. I do recommend that you understand how they came to be a builder in the first place and take your decision from that point.

Did you know that just about anyone can study to become a builder? Have you had a positive experience with a non-tradie based builder?

Nicole xxx

23 Comments 4276 Views

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  1. I just always assumed that builders kind of learned on the tools as it were. Studying to be a builder is perfectly legit, I’m sure, but if I was choosing a builder, I think I’d feel more comfortable choosing one with hands on experience.

    1. You are right Sammie, it is most definitely legit, just not my preference. xx

  2. It’s a hard one because qualifications and experience overlap in all fields in different ways. I think I would be ok with a builder who wasn’t a tradie if they had an excellent, stable and highly experienced team of tradies under them. I say that mostly from my experience of working in commerical construction and learning to trust the team around me whose input I needed to make decisions. But the risk there is that residential jobs are (I assumed) much shorter in time so you don’t have that time to learn and gain trust.
    Interesting thoughts!

    1. There certainly times where a builder like you have described can do a great job, it’s just not my preference for someone to build my home, especially with the experience I have had in the industry. I do think the two parts of the industry can be very different as you point out. xx

  3. Interesting because I too would have assumed that all builders did go through the trades. However, thinking about it, with the reduction (sadly) in TAFE and apprenticeships it is more likely builder may be experience based rather than going through the training which covers all aspects of building. I would add, my husband is self-taught as a kitchen cabinet maker (at the time he built for others no license was required in NSW) and did some great work. He did not do structural work, plumbing or electrical work – always used those who were qualified and licensed. Those days are long gone for him not and he is glad to be offering to lend a hand just to family if required. Good post!! Denyse #teamIBOT

    1. I think it is really important that the industry has room for those who love DIY and have the skills to learn like your husband, there is so much you can do. I am a big supporter in the right trades doing the jobs that are required though, for example plumbers, waterproofers, carpenters for structural works and of course electricians. That still leaves plenty of room for other works you can do yourself though and cabinet making is one of those while difficult to master, if you’ve got the knack it’s a great skill to have! Your husband must be very talented Denyse. xx

  4. Ohhh! I just always presumed that a builder would have a background as a tradie of some sort! I didn’t realise anyone with the right study could become a builder! It is so important to choose the right person for an investment this large! I would definitely be researching any builder I was thinking of thoroughly before choosing them!


    1. Research is the key, even a builder with a trade background can be the wrong builder for you. xx

  5. I never knew you could become a builder without learning and making your way from the bottom up … on the tools! I guess I thought of builders as the doers and architects as the designers and never thought much more about it. Great to have your insight Nicole!

    1. It is only a recent change, but you can most definitely become a builder without the trade background. I feel it’s a very scary trend, though in some circles my opinion is not at all supported. xx

  6. I agree with this too. I think the best builders would have direct experience working on the tools and understanding the process right down to the basics.

    1. Absolutely!

  7. I agree, that being on the tools is important and I would want a builder who has been on the tools, as opposed to one who hasn’t. But at the same time. if you have a great team behind you and they have the right licenses and experiences, there is nothing stopping anyone from being a builder I guess. While it can seem unfair, some of these building companies are doing well and they obviously have worked out a way to keep their clients happy, while also producing great work.

    1. You right, there are situations in which it does work well, just not my preference.

  8. My husband agrees with you 100% and has known builders in the past with no or limited time on the tools. It seems strange that you can become a builder without the on the tools experience.

    1. I totally agree Renee, I think it is a worrying trend. xx

  9. Hi
    I am contemplating building in the next two years. Could you give some ideas on how to ensure you have a good builder. Especially for something so expensive, you would like to have confidence in the direction you are going.

    1. Hi Josephine, I have emailed you a response. Let me know if you have any more questions x

    2. In my opinion, the only way to ensure you are getting the right builder is to find past clients and ask them how the building process was. This is probably what Nicole wrote in her email.

  10. Oooh I was dying to see if you were naming and shaming – ha ha but no who wants a defamation suit? I have a builder who we’ll NEVER touch again. Sigh.

    1. Thank you for the birthday wishes lovely. Would so like to name and shame a few, but wouldn’t think I’d last long in the industry after ? xx

  11. I wholeheartedly agree with you on this! My husband is a builder, who started out as a carpenter, was very good at his job, trained many apprentices and ran his own carpentry business for years. He studied at night to gain the extra qualifications he needed to be eligible to get his building licence and then worked as a supervisor for a building company in order to gain experience in that area before starting his own building company. I have been alongside him for the entire journey, so I know a fair bit about the industry and have also studied interior design and take care of his clients selections etc for him. I am constantly amazed at how much he knows and NEEDS to know to make sure the homes he builds are constructed properly. There is just so much that goes into it that most clients have no idea about. Very good advice from you here for sure!

    1. Thank you Karen, your husband has what I feel is the perfect experience to be the very best builder! It amazes me how quickly things have changed in the industry to allow all types of trades to become builders, and while I don’t doubt some of them are great, I’d say the vast majority just don’t have the skills to construct a home as well as your husband. Thanks for stopping by x

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