1. Ask the builder for a copy of the “Standard Contract”, along with any “Special Conditions” and “Contract Specifications” right at the start. It’s important that you use these words.
  2. Do not invest any time in the process until those documents are provided in full.
  3. Sales people are just that “Sales people”. Get it in writing via email always. When sitting there in front of them, ask them to open up a email page and type up any commitments agreed upon. Never ever rely upon their good nature. The truth is forgotten shortly after the discrepancies start.
  4. Don’t sign a contract that doesn’t reflect your agreement. You don’t change a contract by way of variation if it was to be a term or agreement from the start. 
  5. Ask your builder to put in writing (Email) that they will “Respect your rights in law to have a third party inspect the home without any special conditions. That you will have access to the site as per the legislation along with your agent”.  
  6. Deal with the builder direct. Be careful of “Marketing Companies”. These companies could make all manner of promises and enter into agreements that they may or may not pass onto the builder. If you choose to deal with a marketing company, ensure that what you agree to is written down and signed by the builder before your start the build. Not just the marketing company signing.
  7. Understand that Independent advice from a third party is not a guarantee that the items will be fixed. That is your job as you hold the contract with the builder. Not the Independent Inspectors. Their role is to detect and report. Yours is to use that knowledge to get the items fixed.
  8. Use a Building Surveyor of your choosing. Often the builders will offer up a Building Surveying Company that is doing a large amount of the builders work. The law states that you can use anybody and we suggest that you choose one that is Independent and has your best interest at heart, not the builders.
  9. Always use a reputable company to carry out stage inspections. Using your mate that works for Bunnings as a truck driver is not recommended. The person or company you choose should be fully independent from you and only defect items that are a breach, not opinion. The report they issue should have the Australian Standards or National Construction Code as the reference and only fall back onto the Guide to Standards if no reference is found in the other documents. Opinion is just that, “Opinion”. It has no validity in law and the builders have no obligation to fix opinion items.
  10. Always seek legal advice before signing the contract. Good builders operate on the principals that the contact should be signed and then put in the draw. Only ever to surface if a dispute arises.  It’s a small price to pay when compared to the cost of the house. 
  11. Always check when the builder or the site manager state “That’s within Tolerance”. Ask what tolerance and which book. Ask to be shown. Otherwise seek advice from a third party that is Independent to the relationship.