3 telltale signs of a dodgy house builder

When you’re looking to build your dream house from the ground up, you’re going to be engaging a lot of outside parties. There’s a broker or lender to get a construction loan, for one. Conveyancers as well, to handle any land title transfers. And then there’s the builders themselves – but how do you know they’re working in your best interests?

The ABC reported extensively in 2014 on builders and companies that weren’t compliant with the appropriate codes, leaving people out of pocket and with a property far from what they wanted. To help you avoid ending up in this situation when developing a dream house, here are three big signs you might want to look at another builder.

1. They don’t run through the contract

Contracts can often be filled with confusing terminology and fine print that is easily overlooked – especially when builders want to cut corners. However, as Archicentre’s SA Manager Edward Lukac points out, contracts need to be gone over in full to ensure a fair process.

He states that getting an independent architect to look over the plans and the contract can help you be certain that you’re getting a good deal and the house you want. But make sure to check credentials of everyone involved to ensure certification and independence.

2. They don’t have the right insurance

Even though most builders will be professionals, mistakes can always be made. That’s why your builder should have the right insurance in place to cover anything that might go wrong. In Victoria, if the person or company conducting the work for you is doing more than $16,000 worth of building and doesn’t have domestic building insurance, it can be a red flag.

It takes a bit of homework, but determining what sort of cover they have and how much they could be liable for gives you an idea of their responsibility as a constructor.

How can you be certain that your builder is trustworthy?

How can you be certain that your builder is trustworthy?

3. They drive a strange bargain

Sometimes, you’ll end up changing arrangements on the fly, or adjusting plans to fit new financial requirements or extra work to be done on a house. However, as Fair Work Building and Construction points out, a builder shouldn’t be trying to get you to create a contract or agreement that can’t be scrutinised by building codes.

Unfortunately, dodgy building practices do exist. But with the right checks, regulation and even word of mouth, hopefully you can identify and avoid them entirely. Another great way to learn about potential house builder’s is to see what other people’s experiences with them are. At Unlock Property, you can view a wide range of customer reviews of house builders to discover the cream of the crop.


We are building in the next 18 months and this is very helpful. Cheers

Leave a Comment

Name (required)
Email (required)
Comment (required)