Build with Confidence: Get Your FREE Checklist for Choosing the Right Builder in NSW Today!
Planning a construction project in NSW? Ensure a smooth process by identifying red flags in a builder’s background. Download our Pre-Construction Checklist now.

Verify Builder’s Licence and Insurance Coverage

It is essential to confirm that a builder has the necessary insurance coverage and a legal licence before hiring them for a construction project. In Australia, in order to perform building work, a builder needs to have a licence that has been issued by the appropriate state or territory authorities. Homeowners can check the validity of a builder’s licence by searching the public register of licensed builders, which is typically available online.

In addition to verifying the builder’s licence, homeowners should also ensure that they have the necessary insurance coverage. Builders in Australia usually have two essential types of insurance: domestic building insurance and public liability insurance. Domestic building insurance shields homeowners from financial losses resulting from shoddy or unfinished construction work, whereas public liability insurance protects against harm and injuries brought on by the builder during the building process.

Homeowners should request proof of the builder’s insurance coverage and make sure it is up to date and valid. A builder’s insurance status can also be verified by getting in touch with the appropriate insurance company or looking up the builder’s licence on the public registry. By verifying the builder’s licence and insurance coverage, homeowners can identify any red flags and avoid potential risks or legal issues.

Check the Builder's Reputation and Experience

It’s essential to research a builder’s reputation and professional background before selecting them. A builder’s reputation can tell you a lot about their work quality and professionalism. Start by perusing their prior projects, client feedback, and endorsements.

By looking into a builder’s reputation, you can prevent choosing someone with a track record of subpar work, missed deadlines, or disputes with clients. Check out the builder’s reviews and endorsements from previous customers. Check if the builder has any complaints or legal actions against them by searching public records or contacting the relevant authorities.

The experience of the constructor is another crucial aspect to take into account. Working with a builder with experience might provide you more assurance in their capacity to manage your project, even though it is feasible to locate a trustworthy builder who is new to the sector. By looking at their portfolio and getting information about previous projects, you can determine the builder’s level of experience.

Overall, investing the time to investigate a builder’s standing and qualifications can save you money and give you peace of mind that your building project is in capable hands.

Conduct a Background Check on the Builder

In addition to checking the builder’s reputation and experience, homeowners should conduct a comprehensive background check on the builder. A background check can help homeowners identify any red flags in the builder’s history that may indicate potential problems or risks. This section will discuss the various aspects of a builder’s background that homeowners should check and how to do it.

Criminal History

One important aspect of a builder’s background check is their criminal history. Homeowners should check whether the builder has a criminal history or any pending criminal cases. This can include any fraud, theft, or other criminal charges or convictions that might be relevant to their work as a constructor. Homeowners can obtain a background check from the appropriate agencies or run an online search for public records to look up a builder’s criminal past.


Another aspect of a builder’s background check is their bankruptcy history. Homeowners should research whether the builder has ever declared bankruptcy. This can be a sign of their financial instability or other problems that could hinder their capacity to finish a task. Homeowners can acquire a credit report or run a public records search to investigate a builder’s bankruptcy record.


Homeowners should also see if the builder is subject to any liens or court orders. This can be a sign of past legal or financial difficulties that might hinder their capacity to finish a task. To check a builder’s lien history, homeowners can request a title search or search for public records.

Review the Builder's Contract

Homeowners should carefully check the builder’s contract before the project begins to make sure that all the terms and conditions are spelled out in clear, reasonable, and legally enforceable terms. The agreement should specify the work’s scope, deadlines, payment terms, and dispute resolution mechanisms.

The following clauses in the builder’s contract should be carefully read by property owners:

  • Scope of work: The precise parameters of the work’s scope should be stated, including the items, materials, and standards of craftsmanship to be used. The contract should also mention any warranties that the builder provides.
  • Timelines: The contract should specify the expected start and completion dates, as well as any milestones or deadlines for specific tasks. It is also essential to include provisions for potential delays or extensions, such as weather or material shortages.
  • Payment terms: The contract should outline the progress payment and payment methods, including deposit payments. Homeowners should make sure they are only paying for work that has been finished and that they have adequate money to repay the bills.
  • Dispute resolution: A procedure for addressing disagreements that can occur during construction should be included in the contract. This could be mediation, arbitration, or going to court.

Homeowners can prevent future misunderstandings, disagreements, or legal problems by carefully reading the builder’s contract. It’s a good idea to get legal counsel before signing any contracts as well.

Ask for References

When looking for a builder, homeowners should ask for references from the builder. These references can be past clients, subcontractors, or suppliers who have worked with the builder before. Homeowners can ask the builder to provide references, or they can do their research and ask for references themselves.

When asking for references, homeowners should ask questions about the builder’s work quality, communication skills, reliability, and professionalism. Some questions to consider asking include:

  • How was the builder’s work quality?
  • Did the builder complete the project on time and within budget?
  • Was the builder easy to communicate with?
  • Did the builder address any concerns or issues promptly?
  • Would you hire the builder again for future projects?

Finding out the answers to these questions can aid homeowners in selecting a builder.

Build with Confidence: Get Your FREE Checklist for Choosing the Right Builder in NSW Today!
Planning a construction project in NSW? Ensure a smooth process by identifying red flags in a builder’s background. Download our Pre-Construction Checklist now.
Flags in a Builder's Background

Ensuring a Smooth and Safe Construction Experience

Identifying red flags in a builder’s background is critical to ensuring a smooth and safe construction experience. Homeowners should check the builder’s credentials, including their licence and insurance, as well as their reputation and experience. They should also run a background check, go over the builder’s contract, and get references.

As a construction lawyer in NSW with over 10 years of experience, I have seen firsthand the legal issues that arise when homeowners fail to conduct due diligence on their builders. These actions can help homeowners reduce hazards and stay clear of pricey legal battles.

To help homeowners in this process, we have created a “Builder License and Insurance Verification Checklist.” This checklist includes a step-by-step tutorial on how to verify each vital licence and insurance policy that homebuyers should search for. Downloading this checklist will help homeowners make sure they are hiring a dependable and experienced builder.