Step by step process to building your own home or undertaking a renovation or extension.

Posted on 22 October, 2014 in New builds, Renovations

Building a new home or undertaking a large renovation is a very exciting time yet can be quite daunting and you might not know where to start! This is a simplified guide to get you started on the process which should answer any of your questions. Forrest Building Co can guide you through to make the process as smoothly as possible.

1. Design Process

Once your vision has been established, the design process is the very first step to planning your construction project. However- it can be difficult to know if your ideas will fit within your budget.

To simplify this, a draftsman/architect can assist to construct some basic concept drawings and in conjunction with the builder, provide estimated costs accordingly.

This process may take one or two revisions to achieve what you want however it is important to make the time necessary, as it can become an expensive exercise to implement changes later in the project lifecycle.

Upon completion of this phase, it is now time to establish the construction drawings so the builder can quantify the costs more accurately.

2. Contract

Depending on the size of your project, there will be some form of a contract required- a binding agreement between builder and client which establishes the costs and payment conditions and any other agreements specific to the project.

To simplify this process, contract templates are available from the Housing Industry Association (HIA) or the Master Builders Association (MBA).

3. Building Permit/ Certification

Depending on the nature of the works, in most cases a building permit is by regulation a must. Unsure if your project calls for a building permit? Ask your builder, the HIA or MBA. Without a building permit, the project cannot be certified or acknowledged by the Department of Lands and Planning. This can greatly affect the value of your property at resale time, as the works will be deemed as non compliant.

In addition to this the exposure to “dodgy work” is much greater, as there will be no governing body inspecting the job at the required intervals. Certification is an essential part of the process, even if it’s just a bathroom renovation. The building permit will be set up by your builder and requires minimal input from the owner.

4. Construction

Once the above stages have been implemented, the builder is now able to commence work. The builder should be able to provide a tentative schedule for the duration of the works, however the time component can be very difficult to quantify accurately and should be used as a guide only. 

Throughout the life of the project there will generally be staged inspections carried out by the certifier, to deem the works as compliant. This falls under the building permit requirements and will be co-ordinated by the builder.

It is important to maintain frequent communication between the builder and client throughout the project life to minimise assumptions made by either party.

5. Handover

Once the on-site works have been completed, it is now time for handover. Once the final inspection has been made, an Occupancy Permit will be issued and subject to the terms of your contract the project is now complete.


What is a Variation and when are they applicable?

A variation is an additional cost incurred through either labour or materials that was not itemised in the initial scope of works as specified on the contract. This is why it is important to communicate all expectations prior to commencement so that assumptions aren’t made by either party.

Variations typically occur in areas such as earthworks where it is unknown if and how much rock may be encountered whilst excavating. Alternatively if changes or additional works are requested throughout the project, these will also be considered variation costs. If the work was specified on the original construction drawings however, it should not be considered eligible as a variation.