The Dan Commandments

You’ve made the decision to renovate - now what? Block Insider, Dan Reilly, shares his Six Commandments for building or renovating...


Thou shalt choose thy builder carefully

Choosing a builder is the biggest step you’ll take this whole process - which is why choosing a good one is so important. You’re investing a lot of money into your project, so you really want to pick someone you can trust. I’d say go by recommendation, or word-of-mouth. If you know of people, and you know their renno and it’s good - that’s a good place to start. If you’ve gone through an architect, they normally have ‘preferred builders’ they like to use, and that they trust, so that is another way you can go.


Thou shalt establish a good relationship

Second step is meeting the builder. Have a little interview and see how you get along. A relationship between client and builder is so important, because if it goes belly up, that’s when all the problems start to happen. So you want to have a good foundation.

 Dan on The Block 2018 with Spence Will Spence take advice from Dan and put trust into using more trades for help?
 Keith and Dan The Block 2017 Dan and Keith ready to reveal the plans to the contestants.

Thou shalt trust thy gut

If there’s something there that says, ‘I’m not sure about this person’ - trust your gut and walk away. Your gut feeling is normally fairly spot-on. It’s the reverse for the builder - we have to trust our gut with a client too.


Thou shalt assess thy quotes - cheapest isn’t always best

When choosing your builder, you’ll normally get your three quotes. Don’t automatically go with the cheapest one - it’s not always the best. It might mean that things you don’t know about have been excluded, and they’ll sting you later on. That’s a trick a lot of people do now when they’re quoting - they’ll exclude different items, like high-end appliances, and come in 30 or 40k under everyone else to win the job. Remember to ask what’s EXCLUDED - not just what is included.

 Dan Reilly Throw back to when we first met Dan and Dani way back on The Block 2012.

Thou shalt trust thy builder!

Once you have chosen your builder, building a trusting relationship with them is really important. Trust your builder - don’t try and come in every day and question everything they are doing. Trust he knows his knowledge, has good trades and he knows what he’s going to do. You don’t want to keep hassling for no reason.


Thou shalt buy them beer!

At the end of the day, or week, a beer can go a long way for the builder and the tradies! Maybe a slab could be worth three or four hundred dollars at the end of the day. People forget that - it’s a really good one.

 Dan Reilly & Keith Scheilger The Block 2017 Dan & Keith enjoying a well deserved cool beer after another hard day on The Block

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