Victoria: Consumers Happy with their Builders

shaking hands construction

On an overall basis, consumers throughout Victoria are highly satisfied with their builders and the standard of service and construction work delivered throughout the state, the latest report suggests.

In a recent survey, in which 600 domestic and commercial consumers throughout the state who had building work completed throughout 2010 and 2011 were interviewed about their building experience, consumers on average reported satisfaction levels of 8.6 – on a scale of one to ten – for the quality of the built product, 8.1 for their builder’s management of the task and 7.9 for their overall sense of satisfaction.

The survey was conducted by the Victorian Building Commission and published on June 29 as part of the Commission’s ‘Pulse’ report into industry standards.

“The research found that building consumers continued to enter the building process with high expectations, with confidence they will be satisfied at the end in 2011,” the Commission says in its report.

The Commission says building project outcomes maintained a nine-year trend of providing high levels of satisfaction, with consumers continuing to be confident with regard to their builder’s technical qualifications, ethical standards, work practices, processes and communication.

Furthermore, consumer understanding about the industry is reasonably strong, with 87 per cent claiming to be well aware of the qualifications and experience held by a registered building practitioner (RBP), 79 per cent saying they value RBP accreditation and 91 per cent being able to name at least one building surveyor role, the most common answer being ‘check that the building is built to standards’.

While there is some room for improvement – on average, projects took 22 per cent longer than and costing four per cent more than was originally agreed – the number of disputes remains low, with 84 per cent of consumers reporting no problems at all.

consumer shaking hands with builder

Where problems were experienced, they generally revolved around issues such as quality of work (26 per cent of all issues), timeliness of work completion (23 per cent) and contractual or scope of work related issues (15 per cent), with the respondent’s builder, as opposed to sub-contractors or externals parties such as neighbours or the council, being the main party involved most of the time.

At the time of the report, 84 per cent of such disputes had been resolved, with 62 per cent of consumers resolving disputes through direct negotiation with their builder and 75 per cent incurring no additional cost at all as a result of the problem.

Key Survey facts:

Key facts arising out of the survey are as follows:

  • Overall, domestic and commercial consumers are satisfied with their builders.
  • 79 per cent of consumers ‘highly value’ the RBP accreditation.
  • 91 per cent can name at least one building surveyor role.
  • 66 per cent of consumers report a high level of control over their building.
  • 90 per cent sought information independently of their builder before the project began.
  • 78 per cent of consumers reported a high understanding of their contract.
  • 79 per cent of consumers value sustainable building, with 73 per cent being able to list sustainable elements incorporated into their building and 53 per cent having specific conversations with their builders about sustainable building.
  • 69 per cent of consumers place high importance on accessibility, with level entries, accessible toilets, wide doorways and passageways the most commonly incorporated accessibility features.
  • Consumers needing to implement fire safety measures say such measures are easy to apply.
  • Building projects are taking an average of 22 per cent longer and costing four per cent more than was originally agreed.
  • Disputes remain rare: 84 per cent of consumers report no problems at all during the building process.
By Andrew Heaton
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