That’s right, you read that correctly. All builders are dodgy. It is the most common misconception faced by builders Australia wide.
The desire for perfection at breakneck speed has destroyed the construction industry, with clients expecting high quality, complex builds delivered within quick turnaround, all the while demanding zero margin for error. The latest NCAT figures reveal that Home Building claims against builders reached an astronomical 68,388. Unrealistic expectations are set for builds, whether it be a custom home or a kitchen renovation, culminating in the stereotype that all builders are dodgy.
The construction industry employs over 1.1 million people with revenues exceeding $360 billion. Construction, an essential and pivotal industry contributes to 9% in the total GDP of Australia, however many builders struggle to take pride in their contribution to the Australian economy. It has been reported that as many as 21% workers in the industry have a mental health condition brought about by the stresses of managing cash flow, fear of legal action and the unrealistic expectations placed upon them. It has been widely reported that suicide rates are 80% higher than the general working age population in construction – one has to ask the question as to why that is the case.
So where did the idea that all builders are dodgy stem from? You don’t have to go far to get the answers. The media and influential persons feverishly grab the attention of readers and listeners by portraying builders in a negative light with the term shoddy and dodgy used throughout articles and news broadcasts. Check out these examples below;
Has Australia forgotten that builders are HUMAN?
Construction is extremely complex with an abundance of steps including the involvement of many stakeholders. With so many hands and heads involved, the possibility of human error and oversight is high.
“Buildings are not going to be faultless, they don’t come off a manufacturers plant and there’s always going to be something wrong to come and fix up.”
David Bannerman Strata Law Expert, Bannerman Lawyers
Builders rely on a large number of contractors and consultants, all working alongside each other, culminating in the final product.
Let’s have a look at 10 common mistakes that occur on many job sites, and most start from the very beginning. Combine a couple, and you have the dodgest builder in Australia building your home!
- The client did not expect the granny flat to be so close to the main dwelling – why didn’t the builder make this more obvious?
- There was an additional 5 lineal metres of retaining wall that needs to be charged as a variation – How could the builder not take more accurate measurements? It is unacceptable
- Quote does not include site costs ? – You want to slug me with more costs later!
- I do not want that 10 year old lemon tree removed! I told you during the sale visit that it was my Dad’s favourite!
- You want me to remove my pavers to comply with the landscape ratio? – You should pay for that! I would not have gone ahead if I had known at the start!
- I want to change the plans. It’s only the fifth time changing them, why can’t I change them? I’m paying to build this.
- You want to charge me for architectural ? What a money hungry builder, I have only changed the plan four times!
- It is going to take how long to build? I am having a baby, I need it ready in 6 weeks with zero defects!
- Why are the trades going through that access point to get to the back?! I told your sales person to go the other way!
- I need to pay to get an accurate quote that includes site costs like slope? – Why cant you just include it for free, my site is flat.
The domino effect of this stereotype is significant, with clients entering building contractors with doubt, fear and mistrust of the builder. But can they be blamed considering that the most common word associated with a builder is dodgy? At the first sign of a mistake, clients are quick to pounce by withholding much needed funds that are required to pay contractors and suppliers and head straight to the Department of Fair Trading whereby the builder is now forced to justify his trades work, listen to allegations that they were not shown the approved plans, where pressured into signing a contract by the sales person as well as explain why a mortar joint was missed or a tile was not laid behind a vanity that no one can see – while on hands and knees!
We asked a few builders for their honest opinion of the construction industry;
“ It is degrading and humiliating to have to constantly justify our actions and the work of our trades and contractors”.
“ Wish I had x-ray vision, it would solve so many problems”
“There is no sense of achievement in this industry. Look around you – builders, contractors, tradies – they have built this country from nothing. And yet – we are always the dodgy ones”.
“Yes – there are bad builders out there – but if you pick the builder who is the cheapest and pay cash – what did you expect?!”
“Look around any room – it is impossible to pick up on every single defect which is the expectation”.
“ Clients dont want to pay for anything upfront but expect the most indepth costings”
But does it have to be this way?
Canibuild is an application that has been developed for the builder by a builder. While construction has many stages to navigate, Timothy Cocaro, founder of canibuild has focussed on the very beginning of the construction process – the feasibility study in an attempt to bring forth and address some of the prickly points in the hope of eliminating the tension and fear felt by clients from the start.
“The very beginning is pivotal. To be able to quote in real-time and provide correct information to the client such as zoning, setbacks and site conditions specific to their block and how it will affect compliance.”
The tech driven Sas application targets these issues specifically, focusing on artificial intelligence and automated answers regarding construction questions. The incorporation of applications, such as Canibuild, aids to remove the friction created between builder and client. Questions can be answered instantly without hesitation regarding any build, making it simpler to understand a client’s ideas and wants.
“Ever since i have started using this application, I have noticed a substantial difference in the way clients react towards the entire sales and construction process. It’s no longer left to the imagination. With canibuild it’s instantly illustrated for the client . I can move the structure around the property, provide accurate measurements and visually show them the product. People can now feel comfortable proceeding.”
RESCON Builders Senior Sales Consultant