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To Whom It May Concern: 


Early 2017 we engaged James Dobie of Critique Building & Construction to undertake the renovation of our weatherboard Californian Bungalow in Caulfield South. 


Through the use of a local draftsman recommended by James, we were able to carefully plan and design our renovation, enabling us to get the best result possible for our budget.  James was consultative throughout this process and using his experience, he was able to \ provide a layer of insight and pragmatism as to how the floor plan, modern design and  “liveability” could combine to achieve the renovation that we are nothing short of delighted with. 


The quality of his workmanship from a carpentry perspective is first class and the project 

management of the team of his trades meant that the build went smoothly and with minimal disruption (even with the additional changes and variations that we asked for along the way). 


James is easy to deal with, and responsive to contact outside of core business hours, which was very handy for us, as we work long hours.  Always responding swiftly and concisely.   


Overall, we would have no hesitation with recommending James and his team at Critique Building. In fact, we have referred his details to some of our friends already, and we  are more than happy to personally answer any further questions you may have.

To Prospective Clients of Critique Building & Construction,

I would highly recommend James (and have done already) to prospective building projects as I have been exceptionally pleased with the workmanship, attention to detail and professionalism of James.

I didn't want this to be too formal so I thought I'd write a few things that attracted me to James:

I think the key to a good builder includes:

  1. Relationship: can you get along? - as you spend quite a bit of time together 

a. To date, we have got on famously 

b. I went out to a few other larger builders with my tender process and I            found even though they presented well, they weren't on the tools,                    therefore the bloke you have a relationship with isn't even on site a                   majority of the time. I felt more like a number (one of their many                    projects) rather than their main client. 

c. For me, I wanted a builder that was hungry, attentive, focused mainly on        my project, was onsite to direct trades and talk directly to me to prevent        anything being lost in translation.

d. He is also more than willing to assist in choosing products (if you need            help) and draw on his extensive network to leverage better pricing                  whether it be on tiles, bathroom products, kitchen appliances, electrical          equipment, lighting, pool paving, retaining walls, etc. I found this                      extremely useful, and have saved thousands.

e. James also makes my wife (and children) feel comfortable on the                      building site - which I also considered highly desirable.

   2. Accessibility

a. James meets me at 7am or after 6pm on site to fit with my schedule, or          on weekends. Nothing seems to be out of the question.

b. I have also met at his house - it feels more like a partnership than a work      relationship. 

   3. Attention to detail/Quality of work 

a. I have found that James is as concerned as I am to get the "right" result          for the project. He will tell you when things don't look right, he has an              opinion of what will be best and his previous building experience on high      end homes gives him a competitive advantage in delivering a high end            product at an affordable cost. All of these attributes were exceptionally          important to me.

b. I feel James is quite particular when it comes to his work, and near                  enough isn't good enough. I think he keeps his tradesman honest and            accountable.

c. I have also met a number of his key tradesman (ie: electrician, plumber,          heating/cooling, etc). I have found all have had a similar work ethic to              James and want to achieve a great result for the project. d. Despite the            attention to detail and keen eye for high quality finishes, his timeliness            has not been compromised. We are at lock up within 4mths, and have            done quite a few extra items within main house.

   4. Pricing 

a. For my specific project, James had the most competitive price which                helped. However, his specifications within the project build did not cut            corners – he detailed solid doors (not semi solid), automatic windows,            frameless shower screens, high quality paints, etc. This is a massive grey        area in building for inexperienced individuals like me, but I have not been      disappointed.

b. To test his integrity and honesty, we even ask him to get quotes for all            provisional sums to prevent budget blow outs and his figures were spot          on.

c. I have found his pricing on the few variations we have had also                          competitive.

d. I have treated this project as a partnership - so I tell James when budget        is tight and he tries to find a more affordable solution. We have an open        and honest dialogue and I think (hope) it has worked in my favour.

e. He is more than happy to help on sourcing products at discounted rates        and/or getting alternative quotes for paving pools to save on budget. He        has no monetary reward himself, however it shows his dedication to                getting the best result for the project at the right price. 

I guess, in the end, it's a feeling you get. When I first met James, we jelled, he had an attention to detail, he was young, hungry and our lines of communication were open and honest. At no stage did I feel I was taking a material risk with having James as my builder, and to date, that has proven correct. 

I am happy to discuss any aspect of the above further if you need to. My build has been as pleasurable as a build can be and I think James and I have worked well together. 




                                                                 James Dobie

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