Common Builder Blunders – and How to Avoid Them!


When it comes to building a house, there are dozens of opportunities for making mistakes or bad decisions. Not to worry, you’ve hired a reputable builder who knows what he’s doing; these mistakes shouldn’t be an issue. Maybe in a perfect world, but all builders can make errors. These may be as simple as locating a shower head too low, causing you to stoop ever time you have a shower, or inconveniently locating a toilet paper roll so that you have to reach. It’s not a huge issue, but over time it gets pretty annoying.

Here are a few of the more common builder errors to keep an eye out for.

Outside of the House

Air conditioners should be located on the east or north side of the home for maximum efficiency, but ensure they are not located close to bedrooms. Although the newer units are fairly quiet, you’ll still here the compressors when the unit is in use.

Driveways should be wide enough that you don’t have to step on the grass when you get out of the car. If you have a double car laneway, you should be able to park two cars, side by side, without dinging the doors. A single lane drive should be no less than 12 feet wide and a double-wide driveway should be 22 feet wide.

A covered porch is a simple improvement you’ll thank your builder for time and again. Especially the next time you’re standing in the rain with your arms full of groceries, and fumbling for your keys.

Outdoor faucets should be conveniently located at the front and rear of the house. Think of where your gardens and planters will be situated for handy hose access.

Exterior electrical outlets are not used that often, but when they are needed, you want them close by. You’ll want them at the front, back and possibly the side, depending on the type of exterior work you’ll be doing. It’s great to have outlets installed in your soffits for handy Christmas light plug-ins.


Interior Electrical outlets can be a huge source of frustration if they aren’t conveniently located. You’ll want to ensure they’re installed in the walls directly behind end tables, next to beds or couches, or on top of a fireplace mantle. You may also want some floor outlets in a home office or coffee table situated in the middle of a room. My biggest source of frustration was not having an outlet in the island in my kitchen.

Traffic flow should be examined when you’re planning your floor layout. Ensure that areas designated as pathways, won’t be obstructed by furniture. Usually a 36 inch width is chosen for stairways, you’ll appreciate increasing this to 42 inches or more in width.

Spongy floors can be avoided if you request extra stiff floors. The average building code for floors is 1/360, ask your builder to upgrade to a 1/480 deflection design instead.

Trusses are probably one of the least concerns of most new home owners, but so important for future renovation possibilities. If you intend on creating added living space in an attic or above a garage, request that your builder install a truss that will allow for added headroom in these areas. Also, have him install a real staircase in these spaces, not a fold-up model.