Building a new home, or renovating or extending your existing home, is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make, so using a skilled and reliable builder is essential. They create the place you’ll live in for a long time. They bring your vision to life.
To protect your investment, and keep your stress levels in check, you want to work an experienced, value-for-money builder who takes pride in their work and has evidence of completing successful projects.
Experienced builders have a wealth of knowledge to draw on and are well positioned to provide suggestions, recommendations and advice in line with your goals, budget and deadline. This includes whether to extend and renovate or knock-down build.
In this article, we’ll outline the qualities to consider when choosing a builder, and share where to find the best in Canberra.
Extend and renovate or knock-down build?
The first major decision an experienced builder can assist with is whether to knock-down build or extend and renovate. More homeowners are seizing the advantages of staying put, in the location they have come to know so well, by increasing the size of their home to suit their lifestyle.
Choosing a builder with a proven track record in extending and renovating is key. They’ll transform your existing structure by increasing living space, improving functionality, maintaining your home’s character and introducing modern elements to enhance its liveability. A renovation specialist will explore opportunities with you and present ideas you might not have thought of.
What makes a great builder?
When you engage a builder, you entrust them with one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make – your home. Having confidence in their ability to do a great job is key to making your project enjoyable, including building new or extending and renovating.
It can be helpful to keep the following in mind when choosing a builder.
- Experience with your chosen building needs. Not all builders will be experienced in what your renovation project demands, so assess their skills and previous work against your priorities. Some specialise in small-scale renovations and extensions, others in major projects. Do your research and ensure your builder can prove they have the right experience. Check out their portfolio of finished projects online.
- Find a good fit. Extending or renovating your home is a major project so you’ll want to work with a builder you feel comfortable and confident with. Interview each builder and if you’re not 100 per cent comfortable with ‘the fit’ or level of trust, move on.
- References. Ask for references, remembering that a quality builder confident with their experience record will be more than happy to pass on former client details. Take this a step further by asking the builder to provide names for a couple of suppliers and key trades they’ve worked with to test the strength of their relationships. Research reviews online.
- Strong communications. You want a builder who is friendly, treats you with respect and is a strong communicator. Your renovation specialist should respond to queries quickly, send quotes promptly and keep you informed as your project progresses. Delays can be inevitable with renovations, including those caused by unexpected circumstances like weather, but a great builder will keep you informed on changes in deadlines.
- Comprehensive quote. Seek comprehensive quotes from multiple builders who specialise in renovations to ensure you’re getting a fair price and avoid scope creep. The more detailed and accurate your quote, the more confident you’ll be. Also ask if the builder’s renovation work is backed by warranties.
- Credentials. Ask builders to confirm they’re properly licensed and insured (including with public liability). Don’t hesitate to ask about their formal qualifications and if they belong to professional associations or industry bodies. Verify that they’ve completed work similar to what you need done.
The best builders and renovators in Canberra
RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.
To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintain a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.
FRESH Renovation and Construction is a trusted renovation specialist. Owned and operated by local builder, Luke van der Linden, the FRESH Renovation team specialises in extensions and large-scale renovations across the capital.
With incredible attention to detail and nearly 20 years’ experience in the industry, FRESH has earned a reputation for crafting quality, flawless renovations that retain the character of a home while creating harmonious additions and extensions. Each project undertaken transforms a house into a beautiful and unique place to live.
Based in Curtin, FRESH Renovation and Construction works with each client from project conception to completion, providing advice and recommendations on the most efficient, economical and practical ways to achieve their ultimate vision. They deliver renovation and extension projects on time and within budget, going to great lengths to keep clients informed at every step.
With so many years in the industry, FRESH has established an extensive network of trusted contractors, trades, draftspeople and architects to ensure each project is seamless. FRESH Renovation only works with partners who match the quality and style of their services. There are no unknown or untested parties on any FRESH project.
FRESH Renovations believes renovating or extending is a practical alternative to a knock-down rebuild. Maximising existing structures can reduce time and save upwards of $200,000. It’s also a more sustainable choice, with less wasted involved when compared to demolition.
The FRESH team is passionate about restoration work for its value in keeping the unique characters of a home and crafting exceptional and tailor-made spaces, enabling clients to remain in the area they love.
On RiotACT, satisfied customer Heather Mann says, “Luke and his team from Fresh Renovation and Construction recently completed some work for us at our property. We very highly recommend them, they were very professional, polite and completed the work to a very high standard.”
NJR Homes focuses on custom new homes, renovations, extensions and knock-down rebuilds. Quality service is guaranteed from initial quotes to post-completion. NJR Homes belongs to the Master Builders Association and holds relevant licenses and insurances.
As Chin-Lee Yu wrote on Google, “I highly recommend Nick from NJR Homes. He did a fantastic job through the entire build process, from the initial quote to post completion touch ups … The house was built on time, on budget and to a high standard with custom fittings.”
Natura Homes is a custom luxury home builder in Canberra. Its team is up-to-date with the latest eco-friendly home solutions, including hybrid solar systems, swimming pools, airtight/low energy, home automation systems and more.
The team of experts at Natura Homes, which includes interior designers, architects, building biologists and engineers, is big on sustainability and the use of healthy materials, ensuring they build luxury homes that are efficient and comfortable.
Natura Homes provides personalised service every step of the way and guarantees superior quality and high levels of client satisfaction. This starts with the first appointment (free of charge), to handover and through the company’s unique 24-week maintenance period.
Satisfied customer Anthony Pesec said on Google, “Natura Homes renovated my residential rental property. Their advice was invaluable, and they were very patient with my slow decision making! All work was done in a professional manner with care to cause as little disturbance to the occupying tenant (who is delighted with the results). All in all, I’m extremely happy with the finished product and will confidently recommend Natura to my friends and family.”
Make the most of the natural environment and embrace sustainable living with Mastro 5 Design Building Group – new homes, extensions, and landscaping. All spaces are innovative, functional and sustainable.
Mastro 5 Design Building Group, one of Canberra’s leading builders, has been working across the capital since 2001.
The company’s motto is “Designed to last, built for life.” The team provide quality control and project management services from start to finish, depending on client needs. The team strives to make each project an exciting and hassle-free journey for clients.
Mastro 5 Design Building Group’s specialist crew include members of the Master Builders Association
Praful Sharma said on Google, “Good workmanship and higher degree of skilled labour meeting client expectations.”
A local, family owned and operated, multi-award winning building company, Renaissance Homes has been operating in Canberra for more than 25 years. The company champions liveable, accessible and adaptable home designs. Renaissance Homes has picked up more than 50 Master Builders Association and Housing Industry Association awards. The company offers value-for-money and quality of workmanship, design, inclusions and energy efficiency.
On RiotACT, Drewfus wrote, “Built a new home with them recently, they were very good. They’ve been around for 24 years.”
Achieve Homes designs and builds homes suited to the way people live.
Whether you’re after a house and land package, want to do a knockdown rebuild or need a custom design suitable for your own land, Achieve Homes can create a home that suits your family’s lifestyle.
Here’s what Sam and Jade had to say about working with Achieve Homes to build their Googong home, “We thoroughly enjoyed working with the Achieve team and cannot recommend them enough. They went above and beyond, exceeding our expectations. In addition, we were also very impressed with the build quality and the quality of the finishing in the property.”
Home design solutions tailored to each client’s dream home is the David Ryan Homes promise. Services include new home builds, knock down rebuilds, and home designs. The company provides free consultation, develops plans and proposals, organises building approvals, manages construction and ensures quality checks and handover. Director David Ryan holds a builders license and required insurances.
Elvie Ryan wrote on RiotACT, “Quality built homes with high inclusions but with a quick build time. Quality control. Amazingly clean sites.”
Empire Homes, family owned and operated, has serviced the Canberra region since 2012. Services include new home constructions, home renovations and extensions. No matter the size, complexity or location, Empire Homes provides personal and reliable service, and quality construction, involving clients at every stage. Empire Homes belongs to the Housing Industry Association.
On Google, Phil Choi wrote, “Undertaking a large extension in Canberra was a pretty daunting proposition until we met Ian. From day one, we knew Empire Homes was the right building company for us …”
Take a look at our articles on the best bathroom renovation companies, best kitchen renovation companies and best architects in Canberra for more information on how you can maximise your building project.
If you’re interested in organising your building project yourself, check out our articles on the best bricklayers, best flooring specialists, best house painters, best landscapers and best fencing contractors in Canberra.
To explore smart home options check out our article on the best home automation system installers in the region. And, to make your new house a home check out our article on the best furniture stores that Canberra has to offer.
Your experience with builders and renovators in Canberra
Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Have you had experience with any Canberra builders? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.