Having your home built or renovated is a significant event in
your life. 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:
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.
Check with Fair Trading 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.
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.
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.
Ask the builder for evidence of Home Building Compensation Fund
Insurance before you enter into the Contract.
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 or someone else to administer the contract for
If you are relying upon funds from a financial institution to
pay the builder, make sure that the payment arrangements are
included in the contract
Get legal advice on the Contract before signing it so that you
will 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. Also to make sure that is complies
with the Home Building Act NSW.
Agree with the builder on the way that you will communicate
with each other during the works eg: site meeting, email, phone
If you get into a disagreement with the builder about defective
works seek legal advice first, do not end the contract or withhold
payments. If you do this without first getting advice it may be you
that is in breach of the contract and who will be facing a claim
for damages by the builder.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Warranties can be risk-shifting mechanisms when the party giving the warranty is not the party at fault for the defect.
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