Licensed Builder – LBP
It is tricky to hire a builder. It all depends. Someone says to you, “he is an excellent builder.” This does not mean he would be excellent for the size of renovation you are up to. The size is important, the most important one – I believe is – the quality he can deliver in time. He could do it but in two years time – would you be happy?
Another tricky one is a price of the builder.
Cost of builder would vary – from my experience – the hourly charge would be 45 to 65 dollar per hour. A head builder (55-65 dollar range) would come with an apprentice (35-45/hour). The apprentice is not yet qualified and work under a big supervision.
You can check the qualification of builder on this link. All the construction work with the council application must be carried out by a Licensed Builder. I recommend to check his name and its LBP number before hiring.
It is the same for the plumber and the electrician. You need to make sure they are licensed so that you will have no issues afterwards to get appropriate certificates for the council inspections. These license must be renewed every year so some tradesman can be licensed last year but not this year. The job quality itself may not vary if he/she is not licensed this year but it is like a tax – so if you are going through a council application, you also need to make sure this is done by a qualified licensed tradesman.
Other way to pay a builder is a fixed quotation (or an estimate – not too sure of this as this may vary upwards) of a project. As it is a quotation, a builder often put higher price to cover unexpected costs. This high price is a premium not to worry about calculating details and surprises of the cost. Many people prefer this total quotation – as this sounds ”more secured”. However never do an advanced payment to those types – as I often hear problems such as; a builder does not finish the job and disappear, or not to use the promised material, etc. Another issue is that a builder often carries out a poor quality job within limited time in a quoted job than an hourly paid job – this is just stories I hear – so it is not absolutely true for all reputable builder.
I chose the hourly rate for all tradesman except materials such as windows, stones, bathtub, etc. Our house is almost 100 years old, there are so many unknown factors that a builder could not make a quote. We thought it was fair to do this way to both parties.
Often, a builder plays a role of project manager. He often prefers to work with his plumber and an electrician. They often work as a team. You can bring your own electrician and your own plumber of preference – in this case – you are the project manager and need closely work together with the builder to coordinate the timing.