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Tips for Home Owners

Having your home built or renovated is a significant event in anyones lifetime. It involves a considerable investment of emotions, time and money.

The process can be enjoyable for you and stress free provided that you communicate properly with the builder so that you both understand each others expectations.

Following are 10 tips to help you in the process:

1. Decide whether you will engage a builder or proceed as an owner builder. If you decide to be an owner builder, please refer to previous article Legal Requirements for Owner Builders.

2. If you decide to engage a builder – find out whether they will arrange for an architect or draftsperson to prepare plans for you or whether you will need to arrange for those.

3. Ask the builder for names of referees and meet with the referees to view the building works. Make sure you ask the referees questions like – did the builder finish on time, did the builder communicate well with you, did the builder manage your expectations in relation to costs.

4. Check with the Office of Fair Trading in NSW (or relevant bodies in other states) to make sure that the builder’s licence is current, that the licence covers the works that you want carried out and to check whether there are any claims against the builder.

5. Don’t enter into a building Contract until you have the detailed plans. If you don’t, any additions to the plans will be variations to the Contract and will increase the cost.

6. Ask the builder for evidence of Home Owners Warranty insurance before you enter into the Contract.

7. Decide whether you will check on the progress of the works with the builder during the course of the works or whether you will engage an architect to do this for you.

8. Tell the builder whether you will be relying on funds from a financial institution and if so make sure the payment arrangements are properly reflected in the Contract.

9. Get legal advice on the Contract before signing it. Make sure that you understand what is included in the Contract whether it is cost plus or fixed price and how variations, delays, extensions of time and liquidated damages work.

10. Agree with the builder on the way that you will communicate with each other during the works eg: site meeting, email, phone etc.

Agree with the builder on the way that you will communicate with each other during the works eg: site meeting, email, phone etc.
For further information, contact the Commercial Litigation Team