Building a New House in Sydney - Where to Start, Continue and Finish
Building a new house in Sydney involves keeping many tasks under control at once
- we give you tips on how you can avoid wasting time and money,
and make sure you do everything you need to do when it's needed.
How to Go About Building a Home
- Work out as many of your constraints as you can before you look at too many homes - or you may find it more
difficult to choose among all the options.
- How much are you willing to spend?
- What are the possible locations for your new house? How much does land cost there?
- What size of house do you want?
- How long do development applications take to get through the local council of the
area where you are considering building? What costs are involved in the length of time
you are likely to wait for building to start?
- Always allow just that little bit extra in the budget for unexpected
costs or for features you previously thought you didn't want.
- Make a list of the major steps for the whole process. Here is an example.
- Obtain a loan if required.
- Choose and buy a block of land.
- Choose a house to build and any major changes or additional features and sign a contract with the builder.
At this point, run through all the changes you want to make with the builder so that you don't later ask for
changes that you consider minor but the builder considers major.
- Obtain council approval for the house plans - the builder will generally make
the application. Depending on the builder, this happens sometimes before, sometimes after
the contract is signed.
- Within some period of time set by the builder, make decisions about the variable features of the home.
Examples of these are, in our experience, exact type of brick, colour of paintwork, style of kitchen and bathroom fittings etc.
About the same time, raise the issue of any minor adjustments you want to make. In our experience,
examples of these include heights of
built-in wardrobe shelves, locations of towel rails, etc. Of course, you should have confirmed with the
builder before now that these changes are indeed minor and did not belong to the earlier stages of the
- Choose flooring and bathroom tiles and arrange for installation. Usually, the builder has a company
they work with on these things and a dedicated showroom where you can view samples.
- Handover - you meet with a staff member of the builder (say the supervisor in charge of the building
of your house), you inspect the house and state an problems you see. Once you are satisfied that everything
is done (or the staff member has written up a list of things to fix that you both sign), you sign the
handover documents and the house is yours. Some items such as ovens, stoves and water heaters may not actually be
installed till after handover.
- Following handover there is a defect rectification period - e.g. 12 months. Any problems noted over that
period can be reported to the builder and the builder must then fix anything that actually is a defect
(for some problems, you may need to check what is considered a defect and what is not).
Things to Keep in Mind in the Whole Process
- As you work your way through the steps required, always keep looking ahead to the remaining ones.
For example, when it comes to the appointment with the builder to select colours and styles, don't try
to make decisions about these during the appointment. Visit the relevant showrooms and make these
decisions before that appointment.
- Note that some tasks interact with other tasks. For example, the dimensions of your block of land
will affect what house you can build on it.
- Before actually purchasing a block of land you should
make sure that you have found a few houses that you reasonably like and that can be built on that block.
You can talk to potential builders about the block of land that interests you to get a reasonable idea.
Check for potential problems on a block of land before buying it. See the page on
Choosing a Suitable Block of Land for more information.
Also have an idea of how you would like to landscape your block and check that the house and land that
you have in mind does not interfere with it. See the page on
Landscaping for more information.
- After you have narrowed your choice of house down to a few, and before signing a contract to have a house built,
check which house fits best on the block and how it would affect your landscaping plans.
- Constantly keep tabs on what is being done. For example, don't assume that the builder and the flooring people
have actually coordinated the installation of the flooring - check for yourself that it has been scheduled.
In our case it slipped through the cracks until we found out a week
before the handover date and called up the building supervisor in charge of our house to let him know.
- As your home is being built, visit it regularly - once a week is good - to see what is happening and
note any possible problems. If you find any problems, talk to the builder about it immediately.
- As your home is being built, take as many photos of it as you can - a digital camera comes in handy
here - so that you can always find out locations of pipes, wires etc if needed.
- Always ask questions to find out as much as possible about what will happen and when.
- After handover, keep careful records of any problems for defect rectification
I-live-in-sydney.com's subsite on building a new house in Sydney is relevant to people interested saving time,
money and incorrect decisions when building a new home.
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