Builder vs Carpenter How To Know Which One You Need

Builder vs. Carpenter: How To Know Which One You Need

Choosing the right tradie for your project has never been simpler with our guide to the difference between builders and carpenters.

When it comes to home renovations and repairs, two terms that are often used interchangeably are builder and carpenter

But while they do have some overlap when it comes to skills, they’re actually quite different tradespeople, and it really does matter which one you choose depending on your project needs. 

To help, we’re breaking down the differences between these two terms and sharing what you might be able to expect from each if you were to move forward with them.  

If you want to learn more about home builders, check out our other resources:

1. How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Builder in Fairfield?

2. How to Choose the Best Builder in Fairfield

3. Pros and Cons of Hiring a Home Builder

4. What to Do Before Hiring a Builder

What does a carpenter actually do?

Carpenters are people who work with a variety of materials to build or repair physical structures. These can be anything from repairs to your kitchen cabinet or helping install new windows in your home.

However, a carpenter is often restricted in the size of the projects they can take on by themselves. Many states have rules in place that limit their building to non-habitable structures. So while your carpenter will be allowed to create a fabulous pergola in your backyard, they won’t be permitted to construct a new addition on your home without a bit of oversight.

Where builders become important to the mix

That’s where builders come into play. Many builders are also carpenters who have additional training and licensing to be able to oversee and manage the construction process for larger projects like a home renovation or home extension

In many cases, builders can carry out a large portion of the work themselves, but they will also coordinate other tradies, such as plumbers and electricians, to get a project completed. They may even contract out to other carpenters, who are then able to carry out larger structural work such as home framing under the review and direction of a builder. 

It’s important to choose your builder wisely since some will have specialisations or different competencies that best represent the work that they carry out. In Queensland, there are eight different types of builders licenses available, each with their own unique characteristics. Choose a builder who specialises in structural landscaping for your home kitchen renovation, and you might not have the best fit for the job.  

How to choose a builder vs. carpenter

It all comes down to the scale of your project. In a nutshell, larger jobs like adding an extension on your home or renovating an entire kitchen will require the oversight and knowledge of a builder (not to mention an assortment of tradies). Smaller projects like building or fixing wooden structures can be left to a skilled carpenter to complete. 

Put another way, builders construct dwellings while carpenters help with finishings in dwellings. Builders literally oversee the building of a home, while carpenters add features within a home that is already underway.

Need some more help choosing between a builder vs. carpenter?

You might need a builder if:

  • You’re starting a home from scratch or adding an extension to an existing home.
  • Your project requires a range of services including electrical, plumbing, and HVAC. 
  • You need a permit or permission from the local council for your project to move forward.

You might need a carpenter if:

  • You need something repaired that is made out of timber or similar materials.
  • You’re upgrading your outdoor living space with new decking or structures.
  • You’re looking for custom built ins or unique cabinetry that requires a skilled hand. 

Can you just do the work yourself?

No matter which you should choose between a builder vs. carpenter, the answer here likely a big no – that is, unless you are a builder or carpenter yourself.

In general, carpentry takes a skilled hand to be able to construct solid, secure, and stunning woodwork projects. In some cases, like decking, you may still need permissions from the local council, which will be looking to see who will be doing the work (and they won’t want that person to be the homeowner in most cases). 

Builders are licensed professionals for a reason. They have the know-how to be able to coordinate projects on a large scale. Attempting to coordinate your own build with the permits, tradies, and timelines that need to be managed is a recipe for disaster. Instead, it makes complete sense to rely on the experts to ensure that your job will be done right. And that doesn’t mean you won’t have a say in matters. 

If collaboration is important to you, or you have specific tradies in mind for your work, make that clear to your builder from the start. If they aren’t willing to work closely with you, then they might not be the best fit for you and your project.

Here’s what the pros can do >>> Check out our completed project gallery here

Is a builder or carpenter the better choice?

Generally speaking, you’re likely to be able to do more and complete more when you work with a licensed and insured builder. 

While carpenters are great for smaller projects, builders often have a deep resume and talent pool to ensure that your project is done by the best of the best whether it’s a bedroom, bathroom or kitchen renovation. What’s more, many builders already have a background in carpentry or other trades, giving them a head start and enabling them to do some of the work themselves, along with their team. 

Builder vs Carpenter How To Know Which One You Need
Builder vs Carpenter How To Know Which One You Need

How to choose the right builder for your project

It all starts with experience. You’re going to want to find out how many years the builder you’re considering has been carrying out projects in their line of work. The more experience, the better likelihood that your project will run smoothly. That’s because it takes more than just carpentry skills to run a build project. They’ll also be required to manage all of the different aspects of the build, different tradies, timelines, and permit requirements, just to name a few. 

You will also want to make sure that your builder is licensed and confirm what their license is actually for. There are a variety of different builder licenses here in QLD, so make sure that the builder you’re considering is licensed for the work you need done. You should also ask about insurance and make sure that the builder has adequate coverage for a project of your scale. 

Choose Hardy Construction for your next build project

When it comes to coordinated, quality construction projects here in Brisbane, no one does it better than Hardy Construction. Our build team has the qualifications needed to oversee your next home build or renovation project with an entire team of specialists on tap to get the job done right the first time.

Every project, no matter how big or how small, comes backed with a 20-year workmanship warranty. We also strive to make every renovation or build as stress free as possible, with dedicated staff for every step of the way to ensure accuracy, quality, and attention to detail. 

For a free consultation, chat with us on 0405 270 225 about your home build project today.