5 rookie mistakes to avoid as a beginner builder

Beginner builders are some of the most excited individuals as it is their first time venturing into the construction industry with all the shackles constraints removed. You might be a beginner builder yourself looking to begin your journey. But at this stage you are at the most risk of making mistakes that have varying ramifications depending on the importance of each mistake you make. Here are 5 rookie mistakes to avoid as a beginner builder so that you know what to avoid



1. Getting your measurements wrong


Construction is all about precision. Performing works to the absolute finite details is not even a positive on its own, but a requirement. One mistake and the entire project can become null and void. Hence it is important to make sure the measurements you make for each part of the building process are accurate and can be built upon continuously. 


A common error that anyone can easily make (especially builders just starting out) is ‘winging it.’ Or, to further elaborate, doing things on the fly without really putting in the time to make sure everything is correct. An analogy for this is lego bricks. A set of legos comes with a large amount of bricks and instructions on how to build the set. 


The wrong thing to do would be to build it without fully taking in the instructions and using intuition to complete the project. What happens from this is that whilst you may have made progress, in reality you are now behind on completing the task because you have to undo things you did to reach that point because you didn’t follow the instructions correctly. 


The same goes for building. Compiling parts together whilst not comprehensively measuring correctly will mean you end up stuck and behind schedule. You will then have to undo some of the things you did to move forward.


5 rookie mistakes to avoid as a beginner builder





2. Underestimating the importance of safety


This point is adjacent to the last and ties in with it perfectly. The construction industry and safety go hand in hand. There is an underlying importance to this concept, along with quality. The reason for this is because the projects that are built are used by people everyday.


From tall towers to residential apartment blocks, they become part of the fabric of society. Failure to ensure quality and safety for these works means creating unnecessary risks and hazards that could have been avoided had everything been done correctly.


As a beginner in building and construction, it is easy to forget your main responsibilities. No one likes to be reminded of the less glamorous side of the industry that requires much more attention, but it is the duty of professionals in the industry nonetheless. 


Just like with not doing your measurements correctly, this has a direct impact on the quality and safety of the projects you complete. A risk you create then becomes a hazard to those who interact with the project. And we know what can come from this. The legal and ethical ramifications are endless. You could face a litany of problems from injuries to legal tenders.


It’s quite simple to avoid the scenario of not taking quality and safety easy. Take pride in your work by making sure you cover every facet and leave no stones unturned. 



3. Ignoring to obtain permits


Now that you are a builder, you get a sense of freedom that you believe you can build anything. And why not? After working hard to get a license, you now have the chance to create the things you have wanted to for some time. But it isn’t that simple. There are rules and processes you must follow to be able to engage in construction. One of these processes is obtaining necessary permits. 


There are many types of permits. One example is a planning permit. According to the Victorian Building Authority, planning permits give permission to develop or use land in a specific manner. This could be for any type of project such as a home or renovation.


Another type of permit is a building permit. Building permits are documents validating that a proposed building complies with the relevant building regulations. A building permit written and signed by a private or municipal building surveyor. Once you have a building permit, you can perform works according to the approved plans, specifications and other relevant documentation you have constructed. 


Many beginner builders fall into the trap of skirting the responsibility of obtaining permits. They want to avoid the hassle of going through different legal bodies to ultimately build what they want to build. In doing this, you risk being given hefty fines, or worse losing your builders license. 


To prevent this, make sure you obtain permits. Some of the benefits of having permits as stated by the VBA include:

  • The builders working on your project are registered
  • Satisfactory documentation is prepared so the construction can be carried out the right way and by the book
  • Inspection is conducted on the most important parts of the project
  • Your building is deemed fit for use



4. Poor Communication


As a beginner builder, it may not necessarily be your first time working with other people. In apprenticeships and the like you most likely had the chance to experience collaborating and sharing responsibilities. But going from a trainee to a certified professional changes things. You can get lax and forget the importance of communicating effectively. 


When working with other people, it is imperative that there is a level of understanding between all parties. You can’t expect to get very far if everyone isn’t on the same page. Avoiding this is simple. Communicate better. 


This doesn’t mean being more stern, or reserved, or even expressing your opinions as loud as you can. It simply means being more aware of the situations you find yourself in. Ask yourself, do I need to make mention of something here? Should I ask for someone explaining something to further elaborate their point? 


The last thing you want is that at the end of the project, it is far from what you intended as an outcome because you did not provide information clearly and concisely at different stages of the construction process to the various people working on the project.


Another point that can be made is that people are not mind readers. They can’t ascertain what you are trying to convey if you don’t communicate effectively. This is highlighted in construction, where you will work with different professions on a daily basis. They can’t do their job well if you are not being clear with your words and messages.


Being a good communicator means you are much more likely to succeed as a builder, especially at the beginning. 



5. Having an unclear budget


One of the most important parts of construction is the budget. You only have a finite amount of financial resources to utilize, and you need to allocate money to different parts of the process in a reasonable manner. As a beginner builder, it can be daunting to be faced with this prospect. You might end up overspending on certain materials and resources, or hiring professionals with different backgrounds for longer than you need them.


The clear way out of this is creating a plan. A construction plan is all-encompassing and includes budget estimation. Calculating how much each component costs will only help you to succeed in completing a project successfully on time and within budget constraints. 


These are just a taste of the many mistakes you could make as a beginner builder. Understanding them, however, is the key to avoiding them because you know what to expect in tight situations where taking the risk is quite a possible reality. 


Parker Brent is a provider of courses in building and construction. For more details, enquire here.