Home' Homes : Homes 2010-11 Contents 96 WA’s Best Homes 2010/11
YOUR BUILDING GUIDE We get the dirt from
Master Builders Western Australia on turning your
patch into a perfect home:
BUDGET PROPERLY Allow for the unexpected to
occur. This means that you shouldn’t over-commit,
especially as interest rates may rise in the future.
Remember that apart from construction costs, you
need to fit out the home, buy furnishings and pay
for fencing and driveways.
UNDERSTAND THE CONTRACT While it may
be a ‘fixed price contract’, it will usually include
provisional sums, especially for site costs. Actual
costs may vary from these estimates. If you are
signing a ‘cost plus’ agreement, make sure you
understand what costs are actually included,
such as your builder’s labour.
PLAN YOUR PROJECT CAREFULLY Changing your
mind during construction can be expensive. Many
builders operate a ‘system based’ method, in which
the design, material and quality of the build is of a
‘production line’ standard. Once started, it can be
difficult and costly to change this mid-stream.
LARGE PROJECT BUILDER OR A SMALLER
BUILDER? Larger builders generally can source
their building materials and labour more cheaply,
but smaller builders can be more flexible during
construction. You need to make the call here.
UNDERSTAND THE TERM ‘PRACTICAL
COMPLETION’ This is the final stage of the
building process. When the home is ready for
handover, the final claim becomes payable and
you are then responsible for insuring the property.
It does not mean that the home is now perfect.
Imperfections may be fixed in the defects period
(four months after the home is finished the
builder is obligated to repair any minor defects).
Remember, too, that practical completion and
other interim stages of completion are usually the
trigger points for progress payments (delays in
payment can lead to penalties and interest).
DELAYS Ensure the lease of your rental property
or alternative accommodation arrangements
are available for a sufficient period to cover any
construction time delays.
PRELIMINARY WORK CONTRACT/
PREPARATION OF PLANS AGREEMENT
Many large builders require clients to sign a
‘Preliminary Work Contract’ or ‘Preparation of
Plans Agreement’. This is not a building contract,
only a contract to obtain approvals, prepare
drawings and so on. You can change your mind at
this stage, but you will suffer the loss of some or all
of any deposit paid.
KEEP A RECORD OF YOUR DEALINGS WITH
THE BUILDER OR HIS REPRESENTATIVES
This will assist if problems arise. Write to your
builder concerning the problem: most problems are
sorted out this way. If you are unhappy with the
builder’s response, the next step is the Builders’
COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT Be aware the
builder usually owns the plans that are drawn up
even though some of the design may be your idea.
If you decide to change builder and take the plans
with you, both you and the new builder could face
legal action from the original contractor.
Selecting a block
Buying land? Better
check your facts before
fast-tracking it to
When building your dream
home, selecting the right
block can be just as important as selecting the right
builder, so there are a few things that should be taken
into account before buying that piece of land.
Gavan Forster (above), housing director of Master
Builders Western Australia, advises people to check
with the local authority that there are no restrictions or
limitations on what may be built on the site. In addition,
he says that it’s important to check out the location
of sewer lines, which may have an impact on where a
building may be placed on the site. The following points
should also be considered:
• S ITE ORIENTATION To maximise the energy
efficiency of your home, a site should ideally be
• SOIL TYPE Non-sandy soil may mean that initial site
works are much more expensive and involve additional
reinforcement or removal of original soil.
• LOW LYING? Small and sloping land sites can
present a building challenge – there may be a need for
costly retaining walls where the natural gradient of the
land needs to be modified.
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“Larger builders generally can source their
building materials and labour more cheaply,
but smaller builders can be more flexible
3/6/10 4:26:44 PM
3/6/10 4:26:44 PM
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