Building your own home can quickly turn into a nightmare if you do not take the proper precautions.
There are several steps you should take before entering into a major domestic building contract.
You should start by making sure that your builder is both experienced and registered.
Also, be sure to visit the Consumer Affairs website at www.consumer.vic.gov.au/housing/building-and-renovating/checklists
Some of the important matters to take into account include:
- Ensure plans and specifications including all fixtures and fittings are detailed correctly and attached to the contract
- Ensure the land has had the requisite soil tests performed and that footings are appropriate for the soil type. It is important to have footings designed by an experienced and qualified engineer, particularly in areas with highly reactive soils. The outcomes for poorly designed footings can be disastrous
- Ensure the builder has organised adequate home warranty insurance and that the work is insured for a reasonable amount
- Ensure the contract contains clauses that adequately protect you from unreasonable delays and that you are compensated reasonably for such loss.
Pursuant to section 43 of the Domestic Building Contracts Act (Vic) 1995, a display home which is made available for inspection by or on behalf of a builder and a building owner enters into a contract with the builder for the construction of a similar home, the builder must "construct the home using the same plans and specifications and to at least the same standards of work quality and quality of materials as were used for the construction of the display home".
Where possible, you should engage an insured and suitably qualified building practitioner to act as a supervisor to ensure that works are in accordance with the contract, and that all relevant building law including Australian standards, guidelines and tolerances.
Often, defects and general quality issues arise during the various stages of the building process.
If they are identified and rectified early, this can help you avoid protracted and costly disputes down the track.
You should also seek advice from a suitably qualified and experienced domestic building lawyer before signing any building contract.
They can provide guidance to help you protect your interests and prevent your dream from becoming a nightmare.