Building a new home is one of the most exciting and stressful moments you’ll experience. If you’re new to property development and building the house of your dreams, then the whole thing can seem daunting to say the least.
Choosing your own home is one of the biggest advantages of building from scratch. From the choice of site to the layout, colour schemes, fittings and landscapes – it’s all there for you to decide.
There’s nothing like the thrill of planning, designing, building and moving into your own creation. It’s an opportunity to build your dream home based on your needs, wants and budget, and deck it out exactly as you want it. But in the middle of the fun and rewards that come with building your new home, there’s some serious decisions that need to be made and questions to be asked. Make sure you’re armed with all the necessary information to avoid any nasty surprises come handover time.
Once your piece of land has been purchased and before construction begins, all legalities will need to be finalised. Pre-construction can start up to 26 weeks before actual construction and includes finance approval, building licence and water corporation approval and land settlement; which usually all happens between 13 to 26 weeks. 8 to 12 weeks prior to construction, plans will be drawn up following a finance interview, the preliminary agreement is finalised and the title is organised.
Site plans are put together during the pre-construction process too. The concept plan (what can be achieved), the DA plans (full development application plans) and CC plans (construction certificate plans which must be approved by the council) will all be achieved in this part. Once consent has been given to both the DA and CC plans and finance has been approved, your builder can start the construction process.
The 5 stages of the construction process
Whilst the construction process is very extensive, it can be broken down into five main areas.
The first stage of construction is site clearing. This happens in the first week of construction and involves getting the land ready for building. Earthworks are carried out to remove any existing structure, topsoil, vegetation and tree removal. Excavation will be done for trenches and the foundation. Planning of the earthwork is important for a successful project.
Once the earthworks have been completed, a surveyor will come to the land and peg everything out. Sometimes retaining walls will also be built, if required. The slab will be laid down to set the foundation of the house, with plumbing installed underneath. If you’re looking to build a sustainable home, consider laying down concrete slabs for the base because they’re high in thermal and cut down on energy bills by providing good insulation.
Once the slabs are laid the frames and roof trusses are prepared. Generally, the frames are put together before being delivered to site and can be erected quickly (within one to two days). Once the frames are up, you’ll be able to walk around and get a feel for the size of the rooms too! Most Australian homes are built with light frame construction methods – for example; timber and steel. Steel frames are more durable and eliminate the risk of termites, but tend to be more expensive than timber and can be risky in coastal environments.
Lockup is the exciting moment when the doors and windows of your home can now be locked and your house is starting to feel like a home. Appliances and fittings aren’t installed until after the lockup stage because construction sites are a goldmine for thieves. Before lockup can happen though, there’s a few other construction essentials that will be finalised. These include roof tiling or metal sheet roofing, brickwork, rough ins (electrical and plumbing wiring and pipes), internal linings (insulation of walls and ceilings), waterproofing and tiling and timber mould out, which involves carpenters installing skirting boards, door jams, doors and kitchens. After the site is finalised for lockup and all external doors including the garage is secure, the PC (Prime Cost) fit out takes place. This is where all internal installations like tapware, bathtubs, mirrors, vanities and other accessories and fittings are put in.
At this stage of construction, your home is at what we call practical completion. The building will be inspected at this stage to ensure everything is how it should be. You’ll be able to walk through the property with the site manager and point out anything that still needs attention. To avoid any nasty surprises at this stage, it’s imperative you put a clause in your contract that any deviations from the plan must always be approved by yourself. The more detail you provide in the contract about what you want where, the better this stage will be for you. It’s wise to have a third party professional building consultant come out at this point to guarantee the building is built properly.
5. Completion and handover
Once the loose ends have been tied up and the property is ready to go, it’ll be deemed as completed and handed over. Handover will only happen once you’re happy all required construction as per your plans has been finalised. The builder’s final invoice will be paid and keys will be handed over.
On average, your new home should be ready in approximately 44 to 48 weeks. To make sure your home is completed according to plans within this time frame, choose a committed builder that has the tick of approval across all relevant certifications. With the right builder, designer and construction process knowledge – you will be on your way to the home of your dreams in no time.