Tarion derived Builder Quality score: 100%
BBB derived Customer Dispute Engagement score: 95%
ONH derived Customer Engagement score: 87%
Builder reputation is the most critical element that informs a home buyer's purchase, once the criteria of affordability, appeal and perceived quality are satisfied. It's important because builder reputation is a positive indicator of past performance, which is the best predictor of how a builder will perform for you in the future.
One method of assessing builder reputation is to search online for builder reviews and ratings, but few sites have much local Ottawa information, and for those that do, the content is genrally unreliable.
Rather than reviews and ratings being based on objective data, they appear instead to consist primarily of subjective opinions, cautionary tales and angry invective. Evidently people are far more likely to register complaints than they are compliments, and websites that collect anonymous and unverified reviews and then calculate ratings are willing to do so based entirely on this skewed and tiny sample, making their results inaccurate and unreliable.
In order to create a builder ratings system that is factual and therefore of use to home buyers, we formulated an objective methodology that uses real, verified builder performance data collected by authoritative third-party organizations such as the Tarion Home Warranty Program and the Better Business Bureau.
Using their raw data backed up by further research and analysis, we are able to calculate a consolidated Pro Builder Rating for each of Ottawa's major home builders, comprised of three significant components: Builder Quality, Customer Engagement, and Customer Dispute Engagement.
You can view the Builder Ratings below, or read about our methodology
The Pro Builder Rating is comprised of an aggregation of performance data sourced from the Tarion Home Warranty Program to assess a Builder Quality score, the Better Business Bureau to assess a Customer Dispute Engagement score, and further research and analysis to assess a Customer Engagement score. Metrics are updated semi-annually.
To create a credible builder ratings system, based on builder performance data collected by authoritative third-party organizations and empirical data provided by customers, that enables home buyers to properly assess home builders' historic performance, to help them arrive at their own, independent conclusions.
A consolidated Pro Builder Rating should be comprised generally of three components - the quality of the builder's work, the degree to which they reciprocally and transparently interact with customers and the community as a whole, and the manner in which they engage with customer disputes. To reflect the comparative veracity of available data, we weight these components 40%, 40% and 20% respectively.
When we began rating builder performance five years ago, there were few metrics available, and business performance evaluation by the general public was dubious at best. Since then, several changes have taken place, and we have now updated our methodoloy accordingly.
Most significantly, attitudes about the public accountability of businesses have matured considerably. Whereas public ratings previously were skewed due to evaluations being provided mostly by the aggrieved, since then a culture of responsible and fair assessment by both the aggrieved and the delighted has become normalized, providing the basis for a reasonable assumption of balance.
This has been enabled largely by platforms such as Google Reviews, the most ubiquitous, easy to use and compelling feedback tool. It provides a means by which home buyers and builders can engage in an open dialogue, should they choose to, leading presumably to better outcomes for both, due to the public nature of their discourse.
Additionally, far-sighted home builders have completely embraced this new public accountability, not only by engaging fully with the Google Reviews and Better Business Bureau complaints resolution process, but also by engaging fully with third-party customer survey agents that they themselves commission to fully assess and share publically the level of satisfaction experienced by their own customers.
Lastly, whereas we used to heavily weight performance data provided by the Tarion Home Warranty Program, we have now reduced that overall weighting, while more appropriately weighting individual components of the Tarion data to better differentiate builders from one another.
The Tarion Home Warranty Program publishes up to ten years of performance data for each Ontario home builder. This data captures builder output volume, the number of reported deficiencies and defects, and the cost. We make four individual calculations to arrive at a Builder Quality score.
Degree of customer engagement signals the extent of a home builder's willingness to conduct their business in a transparent, fair and responsive manner, and this includes engaging in open dialogue with customers and the community about issues of mutual concern. We factor in six individual signals to arrive at a Customer Engagement score.
While we factor-in a sincere and regularly updated social media presence, we don't attribute much weighting to it because these platforms are seldom used to actually engage in genuine dialogue. We give much more weight to a builder's proactive engagement with platforms such as Google Reviews, Avid Ratings, Consumer Choice Award or this one.
These platforms provide and disseminate business and consumer information of a higher veracity, because they enable builders to engage in an open and transparent dialogue with customers and the community, signaling their willingness to be publically accountable. Builders who are unwilling to engage in such a process are scored accordingly.
The Better Business Bureau serves in a capacity to help resolve disputes between home buyers and builders, and publishes performance data for those home builders who fully engage with the mediated process in a spirit of goodwill and transparency. Builders who are unwilling to engage in such a process to address customer Disputes are scored accordingly.