How to Choose a Builder in Perth: Essential Tips from an Expert
russell from wa building inspections perth
  • Verify builder credentials and experience for reliable results.
  • Prioritise clear communication and detailed contracts.
  • Check reviews and visit past projects to ensure quality.

Think you can trust all big builders in Perth? Think again! In the video below, I walk through a final handover/PCI Inspection in Alkimos, Perth that was apparently ‘ready’ for the unsuspecting homeowner.

So, with so much dodginess going on with builders these days, I always get asked: “How to choose a builder in Perth?”

Choosing the right builder for your project in Perth is crucial to ensuring a successful and stress-free building experience. With so many builders to choose from, it can be challenging to know where to start. As the lead building inspector and founder of WA Building Inspections, I, Russell McCarthy, have seen firsthand the importance of making an informed choice. In this article, I’ll share my insights and tips to help you find the best builder for your needs.

Understanding Your Needs

Defining Your Project Scope

Before you begin searching for a builder, it’s essential to understand your project’s scope and requirements. Are you planning a new home, a renovation, or an extension? Each type of project requires different expertise.


Setting a Clear Budget

Setting a clear budget is equally important. Knowing your financial limits helps narrow down your options and prevents future financial stress.



Researching Builders in Perth

Online Resources

Start your search by looking online for builders in Perth. Check their websites for information about their services, completed projects, and client testimonials. Local recommendation platforms and industry associations, such as the Master Builders Association of Western Australia, are excellent resources for finding reputable builders. For a more local touch, consider exploring the WA Building Inspections Perth profile to find builders with strong local ties and experience.

Local Recommendations

Talk to friends, family, and colleagues who have recently completed building projects. Personal recommendations can be incredibly valuable. Additionally, checking out our profiles like WA Building Inspections Rockingham can provide insights into builders active in specific regions, as we regularly prvide feedback on dodgy builders work.

Checking Credentials

Licensing and Insurance

Ensure that any builder you consider is fully licensed and insured to work in Perth. This is non-negotiable. Licensing ensures that the builder meets the necessary standards, while insurance protects you in case of any accidents or damages during construction.

Professional Affiliations

Additionally, check if they are affiliated with professional bodies. Membership in organisations like the Housing Industry Association (HIA) often indicates a commitment to industry standards and continuous learning. This can give you confidence that the builder is up-to-date with the latest building practices and regulations.

Evaluating Experience and Expertise

Assessing Previous Projects

Experience counts. Look for builders who have successfully completed projects similar to yours. Whether it’s modern homes, heritage restorations, or commercial spaces, choosing a builder with the right specialisation can make a significant difference. As I often say, “A builder’s past projects are a window into their future performance.”


Choose builders with expertise relevant to your project type to ensure they can meet your specific needs. For example, if you are planning a home renovation, look for builders who specialise in renovations rather than new builds.

Reading Reviews and Testimonials

Online Reviews

Online reviews can offer a snapshot of a builder’s reputation. Check platforms like Google, Yelp, and Houzz. Reviews can give you an idea of the builder’s strengths and weaknesses based on past clients’ experiences.

Direct Testimonials

Don’t hesitate to ask builders for direct testimonials from past clients. This can provide a more personal perspective on their reliability and quality of work. For instance, we at WA Building Inspections often encourage potential clients to read our reviews on WA Building Inspections Rockingham to Mandurah.

Comparing Quotes

Detailed Estimates

Once you’ve shortlisted a few builders, request detailed quotes. These should break down costs for materials, labour, and other expenses. Be wary of quotes that seem too good to be true; hidden costs can lurk behind low initial estimates.

Assessing Communication Skills

Initial Consultation

Good communication is key to a smooth building process. During your initial consultation, gauge how well the builder listens and addresses your concerns. Clear, ongoing communication can prevent misunderstandings and keep your project on track. I always emphasise, “Effective communication can make or break a project.”

Ongoing Communication

Ensure that the builder provides regular updates and is easily accessible for any queries or concerns you might have during the construction process.

Visiting Completed Projects

Site Visits

If possible, visit some of the builder’s completed projects. This allows you to see their work firsthand and speak with previous clients about their experience. Pay attention to the quality of workmanship and any recurring issues.

Speaking with Past Clients

Talking directly to past clients can give you an honest perspective on what it’s like to work with the builder and if there were any issues during or after construction. Any good builder should be happy to provide you a few names and numbers of previous clients. If they don’t, buyer BEWARE.

Understanding Contracts

Key Contract Elements

A well-drafted contract is essential. It should outline the scope of work, timelines, payment schedules, and warranty terms. Look out for red flags like vague language or unreasonable terms. If in doubt, seek legal advice before signing.

Red Flags to Watch Out For

Be cautious of contracts that are overly complex or have hidden clauses that could lead to additional costs or complications down the line. For example, after we uncovered a nightmare of a build in this PCI inspection in Alimons Perth, we assisted the home buyer to understand what went wrong. The contract was so convaluded (on purpose), that the buyer simply had no chance to understand what was and was not included.

Project Timeline and Flexibility

Estimated Timelines

Discuss the estimated timeline for your project. Understand that delays can happen, but a good builder will have contingency plans and keep you informed. Flexibility and transparency in handling changes are signs of a professional builder.

Handling Delays

A competent builder will communicate any potential delays and work with you to adjust plans as necessary, ensuring the project stays as close to the schedule as possible.

Quality of Workmanship

Inspection Standards

High standards of workmanship should be non-negotiable. Discuss the builder’s quality control measures and inspection standards. Ensuring regular inspections during construction can help maintain the quality of work. In the video above, you’ll see an example of horrible workmanship.

How to Choose a Builder in Perth 

Quality Control Measures

Regular site inspections bu qualified building inspectors and adherence to building codes and Australian standards are crucial for ensuring the final product meets your expectations. We recently completed a PCI Inspection in fremantle where the workmanship was so poor, it was almost funny. After doing some digging, the builder simply had no quality control measures in place, so the contracted tradies simply came and left with nobody checking the work.

Warranty and Aftercare

Warranty Terms

Ask about warranty terms and post-completion support. A reputable builder will offer a solid warranty (6 years for major defects and 2 years for minor defects) and be willing to address any issues that arise after the project is completed.

Post-Completion Support

Good builders stand by their work and provide support even after the project is finished, ensuring any defects or issues are promptly addressed. If they don’t you can contact the regulating body in your state to make a building defect complaint. For example, in NSW, you can contact fair tading.

Sustainability Practices

Eco-Friendly Building Methods

If sustainability is important to you, inquire about the builder’s eco-friendly practices. Builders who use sustainable materials and methods can not only reduce environmental impact but also enhance the long-term value of your property.

Sustainable Materials

Using sustainable materials can improve the energy efficiency and environmental footprint of your home, making it a more eco-friendly choice.

My Final Words

Choosing a builder in Perth doesn’t have to be daunting. By understanding your needs, thoroughly researching potential builders, and evaluating their credentials, experience, and communication skills, you can make an informed decision. Always read reviews, visit completed projects, and scrutinsze contracts carefully. With these steps, you’ll be well on your way to a successful building project.

FAQs on How to choose a builder in Perth

What should I look for in a builder’s contract?

Look for clear definitions of the scope of work, payment schedules, timelines, and warranty terms. Avoid vague language and unreasonable clauses.

How do I verify a builder’s credentials?

Check their licensing with local authorities and verify insurance coverage. Professional affiliations with industry bodies also add credibility.

What is the typical project timeline?

How long is a piece of string? Timelines vary depending on the project scope. Discuss this with your builder and ensure there’s a clear timeline outlined in the contract.

How can I ensure good communication with my builder?

Choose a builder who listens and communicates clearly from the start. Regular updates and transparent handling of changes are key indicators of good communication. For example, for my building inspection perth customers, we have a whatsapp/SMS chat with the lead inspector and the customers for ongoing communication during and after the inspection.

What should I do if there are issues after completion?

Ensure your builder offers a solid warranty and aftercare service. Contact them immediately if any issues arise and follow up regularly until resolved. If you are unsure about anything during the construction stage, always, I repeate, ALWAYS ensure you get construction stage inspections by inspectors who are real builders like WA Builsing Inspections.