What should you do before signing a building contract?
What steps and checks are important? There’s more than you realise. Learn more here.
Hello! This is Episode 230, and in it, I’m going to be sharing one of Year 5’s most popular episodes and completing our celebration of 5 years of the “Get it Right” podcast.
Back in Episode 219, I kicked off a 5th birthday celebration of the podcast, by rebooting some of the most popular and listened to episodes in each year of the podcast. And then I mixed that up with new episodes to share more information and updates on those specific topics.
It’s been great to receive messages from listeners who are hearing some of these older episodes for the first time, and also from those of you who’ve been here a while, but enjoyed revisiting the content I’ve shared and getting a refresher and reminder of what it covered.
In the last episode, I shared info on whether now is the right time to build or renovate your home, and what you need to consider contractually to manage your risk in challenging times like these in our industry.
In this episode, I’ll be rebooting a super popular episode from Season 13 of the podcast. That Season is called “Next Best Steps” and in each episode, I highlight the different stages of your project journey, and what the next best steps are to move forward confidently.
If you haven’t listened to Season 13, it’s worthwhile as an insight into key tips and strategies to assist you along your project journey. It even includes the next best steps if you’ve got a design you don’t love, or you’re stuck in your project in some way, and don’t know how to move forward.
This episode I’m rebooting here was the last episode of that season, and it’s for those of you who have got your plans locked and loaded, and it’s now time to sign contracts with a builder and hit go.
Many homeowners race urgently towards this point, enthusiastic to see construction commence and their dreaming, planning and designing becoming physically real on site.
But, in that haste, you can turn a blind eye to red flags, and end up legally bound to a relationship and a process that can go really pear-shaped.
Homeowners can get it so wrong at this stage. From stress and frustration, right through to half finished homes and bankrupt builders, the stakes are high.
It IS possible to enjoy this stage though, and to get yourself fully informed so you can be actively involved, and confident through your construction phase.
Now, let’s dive in!
It’s such an exciting point of the project, to be ready to sign a building contract, and hit ‘go’ on seeing all the dreaming, planning, designing, deciding that’s happened up to this point, become reality on site.
To start to see your future home, whether it’s a renovation or new build, actually take real shape.
To start to walk around the rooms and spaces you’ve been envisaging for so long, and have an amazing time seeing it progress, as your future life in your home becomes more and more tangible, the closer you get to construction completion.
And, it’s also a time where there can be big confusion. If you’ve never been part of the construction industry, it can look quite bamboozling to see your home get put together. Lots of terminology and processes, and things happening that you may or may not understand.
Plus you can feel like you’re haemorrhaging money as you see payment after payment being handed over.
There’s a lot of expertise that goes into building homes. And it’s not always transparent when you’re getting a great quality job – or a terrible one.
In fact, you can often find out you got a terrible quality job well after the builder has finished the job, left the site, and something starts to leak, break down, rust or fail. Worse, the failure can be hidden away inside a wall, under a floor, or in the roof, and you have no idea at all that corners were cut and things done shoddily.
It’s only until something big goes wrong that costs a lot to fix, or the building inspector of the future purchaser of your home finds it, lets you know, and impacts the resale value you can get for your home.
Many homeowners enter this phase thinking the only thing they have to worry about is choose a builder and get that contract signed. That the builder will then take care of the rest, and let them know when they need input or decisions.
There’s SO much to cover at this point, because it is literally the last gateway to make sure you’ve got the design right, the scope right, the price right, and the team right.
All the work you do up to this point impacts how well this contract signing and construction initiation goes.
Listen to the episode to hear information on mistakes to avoid, key things to know and the next best steps to take.
And here’s a few more pointers for this crunch time in your project:
- Check your construction drawings. I’ve got a whole podcast episode on this in Episode 213, plus a more extensive checklist inside HOME Method.
- Ensure your construction drawings plus any additional specifications or scope documents are included as contract documents, so they have some teeth in your project. This means referencing them in the contract, and initialling the version you’ll refer to as ‘contract documentation’.
- Check they all match up. I saw a conversation recently online where a woman assumed she was getting two fixed glass panels around a shower because that’s what was shown on the drawings, but the specification from the builder of what was included in her build only stated one panel – and that specification took hierarchy over her drawings. Review in detail to avoid errors like this, and get help if you don’t understand something before signing your contract.
- Sign the right contract for your project and risk management. There are various different formats of contracts, so get advice that the one you’re signing suits your project type, budget and desired method of delivery
- If financing your project with a mortgage, ensure your bank sees your contract prior to signing. They’re getting more and more particular about when and how they’ll pay, and you don’t want to delay payments in the midst of construction because you’re waiting on a bank process, because you’ll be in breach of contract if you do.
Oh, I could go on and on!
Instead, I’ll leave you with this: you really want to execute this contract process carefully and methodically.
Don’t rush it. Sloooowwww down.
Listen to the episode now.
Should you use family and friends for your project? Managing costs and risk >>> INSTAGRAM TV EPISODE
How many drawings do I need to build or renovate? >>> READ THE BLOG
Interview with lawyer, Despina Priala – what you need to know about a contract before you sign >>> LISTEN HERE
Season 13: The Next Best Steps (for whatever stage you’re at in your project) >>> SEASON 13 PODCAST INDEX
Season 7: The Stages of Construction >>> SEASON 7 INDEX
Access the support and guidance you need to be confident and empowered when renovating and building your family home inside my flagship online program >>> HOME METHOD
Learn more about how to get started with your home design with the Happy Home Design mini-course >>> HAPPY HOME DESIGN
Access my free online workshop “Your Project Plan” >>> FREE WORKSHOP