When I build a house, should I know my registered builder?

Question: When I build a house, should I know by registered builder?


The answer to this question, on the surface of it, should be obvious. The answer should be “yes”.

The problem is that these days, when you decide to build through a large project builder, you probably don’t even know who the registered builder is, let alone get eyes on them.

There are two levels of registration available to an individual, Practitioner and Contractor.

A builder who is registered as a practitioner, has been registered to a level where they can build in his own right, as a Sole Trader for example.

A builder who has registration as a contractor can’t build in his own right, he or she can only contract to a company as their registered builder.

Regardless of the level of registration a companies’ builder has, the company has to have its’ own registration, and this is the registration number you see on their advertising.

And so, in most large companies, the registered builder is an employee of the company. They are rarely if ever a director, nor have a financial stake in the business. There are exceptions to this rule of course, but they are diminishing as the industry corporatizes.

So what does this mean to you the customer?

Well, it means that the company can sack that registered builder and simply change to a new one whenever they feel like it.

It means that the person who is responsible for the performance of your new home, commonly isn’t the final decision maker. The ones making the decisions whether to pay that little bit extra to get the best tradesmen on site are mostly bean counters and not your builder.

It means that regardless of their skill as a manager of tradesmen, or your builders’ dedication to their craft, they are hamstrung by the processes imposed upon them from higher up the food chain.

It reduces your builder to another mere cog in a very large wheel, and this is why getting to meet them is so difficult. They are hidden behind layers of customer service people.

Even worse than that, with the number of homes that project companies build each year, it is often impossible for your registered builder to have little more than a vague understanding of your home. They may never see your house, and quality control is often left to less experienced, and less dedicated staff members who often aren’t registered builders.

So my recommendations are simple;

  • Find a building company where your registered builder is readily accessible.
  • Make sure your registered builder is the final say in the construction of your new home.
  • Make sure they are experienced, open, and approachable.
  • Ensure they have a vested interest in the building of your home through holding ownership in the building company, and/ or a position as an office holder.
  • Make sure the company builds few enough homes, that their expert, your registered builder, can be present at your home regularly through construction.

On the surface of it, it seems logical, and it is.

Pity it is so rare.




Kevin Blackwood

Director Coastline Building Group WA Pty Ltd