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The Builders Decision, Who Will Install The Door Hardware?

Updated: Feb 27, 2020

I discuss about the builder’s decision of choosing his own carpenter’s over a specialist hardware installer. Feel free to comment below.


Here’s a common scenario. It’s near the end of a house construction or renovation, the carpenters have finished the fix-out and hung the timber doors. It’s a serious time to get the house locked up.

This home has expensive custom-made doors, so it’s a risky job installing the prestigious hardware that goes with each one.

There’s no time for costly installation mistakes and everything needs to be installed correctly.

The client and their family will use these doors every day and will be constantly reminded about the builder’s quality of the workmanship.

Now a fair point for the builder is that he is focused on having enough work flow to keep his full-time carpenters and apprentices busy, and not standing around, getting paid to check their Instagram accounts! Instead of hiring an extra carpenter who specialises in installing door hardware to a very high standard, the builder encourages his own carpenters to take their time and to just do the best they can. That’s team work, right?

Fact: Really good, experienced carpenters can install any type of door hardware to a high level of workmanship. But………. a lot of carpenters from what I’ve seen, CANNOT!!!!

During my 20 years’ experience in Sydney at the high end of residential construction, I found that most carpenters struggled to correctly install door hardware that they had never seen before. Mortice locks, handles, invisible hinges, concealed bolts etc. I’m not talking about your Bunnings grade hardware, but even that gets installed rough. I mean the expensive architectural hardware that can take up to 10 weeks to order from overseas.

Is it fair on the client who is paying top dollar for everything, to live with doors that sound rattly or feel like they’re hard to use? The handles should look and feel like luxury door furniture, yet they get roughly installed, the locks are uneven, and you can see wrong markings on the door or frame, covered by hole filler.

For some lucky builders, the clients are either naive or are afraid of being called too fussy (due to noticing many other small defects around the house) that they get away with the low standard of workmanship on the doors. For the rest of the builders whose carpenters weren’t up to standard, they get call back after call back, from the clients who want the job done right. Labour time and possibly the cost of new hardware or doors, all at the builder’s expense $$$.

I’m not a builder anymore, but I always thought it worked out cheaper to hire a specialist for a difficult type of work. One who could complete the job correctly the first time. It’s about quality and productivity.

If the client knew about the potential consequences of choosing a hardware installer, they would want the builder selecting the most competent trades person for the job. Instead of using an apprentice or a carpenter in the company just for the sake of keeping them busy on a wage.

But that’s the Builders decision.

Tony Gouverneur

The Tidy Tradie – Lock Carpenter

Sydney, Australia

A question for home builders. Do you prefer to hire an extra carpenter who specialises in something or do you try to keep all the work in-house, because your workers need to be kept busy?

Sydneys one and only Lock Carpenter. Door hardware installer
Sydneys one and only Lock Carpenter

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