Firstly, you need some plans. We went to tender when the application was submitted to Council, which carried the risk of managing
any changes WCC might require. On the other hand, it allowed us to get on with things. Often your plans and engineering drawings are
a bit too big to email. If you donít already have a Dropbox account, you can get 2GB free
and use it to share copies of the plans online (or use other cloud storage services, like Google Drive).
We chose the builders we wanted to approach through a combination of word of mouth, published information, and a few cheeky phone calls
to some industry professionals.
We met with the builders to discuss our project. We shared plans before the meeting, which allowed them
to judge the type of work and ask some initial questions. This session helped us to gauge suitability and how easy it would be to work
with them. We also discussed the tender process and got an understanding of their team and how they work. This was good time to ask for
references, which they sent through a bit later (one builder arranged a visit to a home he had recently constructed and set up a meeting
with the proposed team foreman). Weíll talk more about references next month.
Our short-list got shorter when two builders took up contracts that were pending. This is a real challenge in a tender process and
itís really important to have up-front conversations about availability. Good builders will often have several quotes Ďout thereí, and
if one of those comes to contract, then they may suddenly be unavailable.
During the process, there are likely to be a number of questions of clarification. Share these with all the builders who are
responding, so that everyone is pricing the same thing. All our builders needed at least three to four weeks to come up with a price
(which may involve a quantity surveyor working for them), but this can drag on much longer if you need to clarify a proposal.