We’ve gone back to the basics and we’re providing you with a detailed step by step guide on what to do when building and when it is required.
1 Finding the right site

Important items to consider are:

  • North point or orientation preferred for your living areas
  • Access to home from the traffic and visibility when entering and exiting
  • Site restrictions – trees, easements, slope, services, neighbouring homes, streetscape
  • Speak to the bank and know your budget
  • Always keep a 5% contingency for the block and build to cover for any unexpecting costs
  • Ask the bank what they require contractually from the builder before engagement
2. Finding the right Architect and Designer
  • Planning
  • Design experience in the style of build
  • Local knowledge with council requirements
  • Up to date with current trends
  • Keep the design simple
  • Budget must be discussed with designer and builder
  • Preferably work with the builder during the design to help get the design and build price in alignment
  • Remember current trends generally cost more
  • Have a style in mind
  • The architect needs to be responsible for their design, ask for their indemnity insurances also
  • Request a program and timeline for providing sketches, development application drawings, construction drawings, and details/specifications if contracted
  • Ensure the Architect coordinates with other consultants and stamps all drawings for construction to ensure they have been checked
  • Design and documentation time frame 6 months
  • Approval times are generally 3 months if compliant with design and no objections from your neighbours
3. Finding the right builder
  • Experience
  • Knowledge
  • Compatibility
  • Work Load
  • Make friends with your neighbours and introduce the builder before construction commences
  • Construction time for a medium to exclusive style home time frame 12 months
  • Check how long they have been in business
4. Programming and Planning
  • Procure all trades up front to avoid delay
  • The more planning involved at the start the less delay in the end!
  • Ask the builder for a construction program before signing contracts
  • Spend time with interior designers making selections once the design is complete to provide a complete package of specifications to contractors
  • Include landscape design and any external works in the design stage to make provisions during construction, even if you are not proceeding with them with the building contract
  • Ensure you prepare a contract and have a start and completion date with delay charges if the builder does not commit to program
  • Ask for weekly meetings with the builder to keep up to date with the program
  • If an architect is involved they need to be responsible for their design
5. Building
  • Don’t enter the site if your builder is not around! It’s not safe and you are not insured if you cause yourself injury
  • Keep your own construction notebook and record any discussions and questions/answers during your visits
  • Provide a to-do list for yourself after every meeting
  • Ensure the builder provides evidence of critical stage inspections at every progress claim
  • Ensure the builder claims in accordance with the bank schedule which should be documented in your contract
  • Honest builders are hard to come by so ask plenty of questions and question your architect if unsure
  • Keep a current folder of drawings with all the documents labelled for construction and any superseded drawings should be filed for future reviewing if required
  • Any changes/variations should always be agreed before proceeding in writing – no verbal instructions!
  • Try to get a schedule of rates for contractors and builders percentage on variations before commencement
  • Request all images of the construction phase to be put on a USB before signing contracts. This will help for future reference once the build is complete
6. Handover
  • Prepare your move in advance BUT do not take possession until the project is 100% complete. It makes life difficult once in your new home and trades are trampling through to complete defects
  • Ensure the paperwork with council is completed and Occupation Certificates are submitted prior to handover
  • A defect list should be agreed with a walk through together with your builder and tick off each item as completed
  • Ask for a contact when you have moved in and any questions need to be asked
  • Notify the builder about anything that may not look right, the problem may get worse if not addressed
  • Know what your warranty covers and how long

We hope this helps you to stay on track so your build goes smoothly and to plan. For more information or to get in touch, contact us today!