Working With Your Site Supervisor

If you are building your new house with a big builder once the contract is signed the most important person in the build is going to be the Site Supervisor(SS).

The site supervisor is responsible for programming the works, ordering materials, selecting who will carry out the various tasks (from the tradies contracted to the builder), and supervising the works as well as liaising with you.

To get the best results for your house building a good relationship with the site supervisor is important.

I am not saying that you have to be best friends, but you should aim for an atmosphere of mutual respect.

Here are a few thoughts:

  • When you are first contacted by the site supervisor why not suggest buying them a coffee to start the relationship off in a good way.
  • Let them know what things are important to you.
  • Arrange site meetings during the working day. – Typically the building trades works from 6.30am until 4.00pm. It’s your house so if you can’t make the effort to meet during their work hours don’t expect the supervisor to use their family time to meet you.
  • If you are given a mobile number that doesn’t mean you can ring in the evenings and at weekends.
  • If you spot a problem be firm but don’t go off the handle. “I noticed that ‘X’ was different to the required specification” is going to get a better response than “YOU SCREWED UP!”
  • The typical site supervisor will be involved in building several houses at once so sometimes they can’t get straight back to you.
  • If during construction you are told that something you wanted can’t be done ask to be shown the regulation that doesn’t permit it. On our last house I wanted the gas meter and electrical meter together. One night I checked the site and the plumber had installed the pipework to another location. When I was told that they couldn’t be together I asked the question about the regulations and the meter location was moved without further discussion.
  • Sometimes it can be worth waiting a bit longer for the better tradesman to become available, rather than rushing the build.
  • Always go through the site supervisor, don’t try to order the tradies around if you visit the site.

How have you got the best out of your site supervisor?

For more info while the build is underway see Construction


Using Your Own Tradies

When you look at some of the prices that builders charge for things it makes you wonder if you can get things cheaper by employing your own tradies during the build.

Examples are things like:

  • Refrigerated air conditioning.
  • Extra lighting.
  • High end bathroom fixtures.

Unfortunately its not always that simple. Some builder will allow you to bring in your tradies, many refuse point blank, some will allow it if you pay an Admin/Supervision Fee.

Reasons for Refusal.

  1. Safety and Security  The builder is responsible for safety and security of the whole site. Through long contact with their existing sub-contractors they have developed trust. They will have concerns about having someone on their site that they don’t know.
  2. Time delays Because the builders regular contractors depend on the builder for ongoing work he can put pressure on them if things fall behind schedule. The builder is less likely to be able to pressure  independent tradies who could take their time and delay things further.
  3. Loss of Profit Builders like any most business make higher proportion of their profit on extras. if this opportunity is lost their overall return on the job will drop.

Admin/Supervision Fee

The Administration/Supervision Fee is to provide additional supervision, and security, and have an allowance for risk.

As a fee of up to $1,000 per trade is not unusual you need to be saving a lot of money before going for separate tradies for part of your new house build.

Also you may not get the price reduction you thought by deducting items from the contract as there is a Difference between contract prices and retail prices.

Check Early

If you think you may want to go down this route you need to check whether you builder is likely to agree before you get too far along the path to signing a contract.

Find out about the issues of Using Friends for Building works