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Thread: Builder's pay

  1. #11


    Thanks for everyone's comments.

    They don't take short breaks, but two 30min meal breaks - one every 3 hours of work (so one at 10am (which they leave the property for initially), and one at 1.30pm.
    I do believe I'm paying my builder at a premium rate - $70/h, and I pay him $45/h for his apprentice. [and 10% on materials, 5% on subbies]
    So for a 4 week period their meal breaks alone are costing me $2645 - not insignificant!
    I did have him give me a contract at the start (which he pulled off the internet) which doesn't mention meal breaks, but does state hourly rate "for labour". Of course this includes time spent reviewing the plans, calculating quantities and phone calls which is I accept is part of the job, I just wanted to check what the norm was about the breakfast and lunch breaks.

  2. #12


    you need to have this conversation before accepting the contract especially on charge up contracts.
    you should pay for one break but not the official lunch break.....industry standards apply if not stated.

    It gets very unsettling when the owner starts putting the stop watch on you. It poisons the relationship. There has to be trust in these arrangements with the good productivity averaging the bad (we hope). Get some accountability with a budget control process.

    I had a builder who would spend Friday pm doing his weekly invoice and I realised we were paying him to do it on his hourly rate. (and he was getting % as well). When i asked for more information and a final account summary on charges we got billed for that too :-(

    regards the lawyer how would you know you weren't paying him for his break if they don't provide the detailed invoices??

    time sheets with what was being done at the time are minimum??
    Last edited by John the builder; 17-07-2019 at 10:52 AM.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2011


    no matter what you get charged by your builder for a days work its a fraction of what your laywyer or accountant will charge you for a days work, anyway those ford rangers dont buy themselves you know

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by GML View Post
    I'm doing a renovation lasting some months. The builder and his apprentice are paid hourly. Is it standard to include their breaks during the day (when they will leave the property at times)? ie if they work 7am to 5pm do I pay them for the full 10hrs? Thanks
    For a job that lasts for months I wouldn't go for the hourly contract. Better to get quotes for the whole job. Small jobs hourly is ok, but big jobs like this can lead to going over budget and over time pretty easily.

  5. #15


    quote means you are asking builder to take risk which he must cover in price.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2003


    The challenge with renovations is they are seldom straightforward especially with older homes or homes that have been tinkered with by the DIYer and there are so many of them here in NZ. We thought we had a renovation and ended up needing a 'rebuild' - so it's taking more than double the time and 50% more in cost.

    Definitely have some contingency $$ for the unforeseen incident. For us it was extensive borer and a DIYer removing a load bearing beam and general shoddy workmanship so it was better to rip down and start over. Not sure you'd get an experienced builder committing to fixed cost - without a contract that essentially overrides it for situations that what we've experienced.


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  7. #17


    get a budget and incentivise the builder to do better and share the profit :-)

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by John the builder View Post
    quote means you are asking builder to take risk which he must cover in price.
    Yes, it makes the builder more thorough in their initial scoping of the job which as a property investor is what you want. But I see you are a builder and I respect your view too, you don't have to quote work.

    If, as a property investor, you get three quotations then you will soon have a good idea of the risks of taking the job because of all the detailed scoping of the quotes. It should then become apparent if there might be some hidden surprises, in which case the job can be split into two quotes. One to get to the tricky bit and then do another 3 quotations once the unknowns are known. It's the only way to protect your bottom line (as a property investor).

  9. #19


    most young builder these days dont know how to or cannot quote because they dont know how long tasks take or should. They are used to rocking up and getting time sheets clipped with no accountability and efficiency dictates.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2009


    Avoid the young ones


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