What Should My Building Contract Cover?
Most people will only undertake a construction project once or twice in their lifetime, so understandably, there is much confusion surrounding the entire building process and in particular, what a building contract should include. As home builders in Newcastle, we’ve got many years of experience in drafting, signing and fulfilling building contracts. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to signing on the dotted line.
It might sound simple, but a building contract is a legal requirement, which means it’s integral to ensure all the little details are correct. Your name, your builders’ name and company name, phone number, address, license numbers, ABN and more should all be clearly stated. Double check everything is spelt correctly, and that every piece of information needed to complete the contract is complete, present and up to date.
Overview of Works
Your contract should include a detailed timeline of all works required to complete your project. Starting from the beginning – this should include everything from initial demolition and site preparation to early construction, electrical and plumbing work, painting and any necessary details involved before handover.
Make sure your building contract also includes a copy of your final building plans and a statement that all work involved will be completed according to these plans. There should also be a clause signed by both parties regarding variations to any work involved and if there are changes, how will it affect the quoted contract price.
This is where you want to be extra thorough. Your contract needs to include a final agreed upon price. By the time you are at the contract signing phase, you should have made all the decisions you can to ensure this price is as accurate and realistic as possible.
Where you can, try to avoid Prime Costs (PC) and Provisional Sums (PS) in your quote. These can generally be avoided by selecting as many fixtures and fittings as possible before it comes to contract creation. The more PC and PS items included in your contract, the more likely it is that your budget could blow out, leading to unexpected and expensive situations. If you do include PC and PS items be sure the allowance is suitable for the specification you are after.
Double check you and your builder’s insurance and ensure that everything in your contract is covered throughout the build. If you are unsure about anything in regard to your contract or insurance, it pays to seek legal advice. Be wary of the builder that tries to rush you through the contract signing process; if they push to ‘not worry’ about the little details, this can suggest negligence and may start your relationship off on the wrong foot.
Keep in mind that once your contract is signed, you will have 5 business days as a cooling off period. During this time, you can legally withdraw from the contract without implication or penalty.
Building contracts can seem complex and intimidating due to the potential repercussions. However, should you do your research and choose a quality builder you trust, signing a building contract shouldn’t be a scary thing at all.
Working with a builder that sees you as a human hoping to achieve a dream home design, and not a dollar figure, will ensure your building contract is accurate and appropriate. This is why it’s so important to take the time to find the right builder. From their mannerisms and mood to their presentation and punctuality, look for the signs and pay attention to these details.
In saying that, if you have any questions regarding contracts and building plans, get in touch with our friendly home building team in Newcastle. Knowing people are getting exactly what they envisioned and have worked hard to achieve makes us just as happy as you.