Tip 5 - The Contract

Now that you've got the finances in order, decided on your plans and chosen your builder, you are ready to sign the contract. Ensure that you know what you are you signing and what options are available in regards to contracts.

Full contract

This is the most common form of contract. Simply it means the builder looks after the job from the beginning to the agreed end. This end can be at any stage you want it to be e.g. everything finished or when it is ready for painting etc. They supply all materials and arrange the subcontractors. If you are responsible for any part of the project you must meet their time schedules or it may cost you.

Labour only contract

This is where you manage the whole project including the paperwork, the subcontractors, the materials and the builder yourself. This route is not to be taken lightly as the success of the project rests entirely on your shoulders. Unless you know the building industry and are prepared to make the building project your full time job, think twice about taking on this responsibility.

Managed labour contract

This is half-way between a full contract and a labour only contract. You will be responsible for purchasing the materials and choosing subcontractors etc but the builder will manage the day-to-day running of the building process. With this option both parties must be very clear on the roles and responsibilities of each party to the contract.

Take the time to read your contract and ask for independent help on things you don't understand. Remember that the builder has to run a business and the contract should be designed to be fair to both parties. Registered Master Builders have comprehensive building contracts available to them, this ensures consistency and an assurance that the contracts have been legally ratified.