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Building Contracts

When building or renovating a home, it's a very good idea to enter into a contract with your builder. A contract should clearly outline the steps and costs of the project to provide you with legal peace-of-mind in case anything goes wrong.

Where do I get a building contract from?

Your builder or architect should provide you with a contract before any building work starts. You can get standard contracts from several places:

  1. The Housing Industry Association. These are the most commonly used standard contracts and are available online or from an HIA office in your state.
  2. The Master Builders Association.
  3. The Office of Fair Trading in your state.
  4. The Royal Australian Institute of Architects. Architect-administered contracts work slightly differently to standard building contracts. Check with the RAIA for details.
building contract

What is in the building contract?

Make sure your building contract includes:

  1. your name and the contractor's license number
  2. clear start and completion dates for the project
  3. a detailed description of all work to be carried out by the contractor. This might include plans as well as specifications
  4. the total cost of the project and when progress payments are to be made
  5. a guarantee that the work will comply with the Building Code of Australia as well as any other legally required standards 
  6. insurance details
  7. a cooling off period.
  8. details on how any changes to the schedule or work will be dealt with
  9. provisions for dispute resolution
  10. a standard 12 point checklist for owners entering into a building contract, and a caution about not signing the agreement if the owner can€t answer 'yes' to all of them.

Note that this list is not exhaustive - your state might have additional requirements for building contracts.

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