5 things to do before signing a building contract

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It’s probably something you’ve been considering and arranging for quite some time. All those Pinterest boards and saved Houzz photos of your dream kitchens/bathrooms/house exterior are finally about to become your own reality! It’s time to start your building project!

If you’re about to sign a contract with a builder, you will know that this is a big deal and not to be taken lightly. You’re trusting this company with your hard earned money to carry out works they have agreed to do.

A written building contract between you and your builder is vital when building, renovating, extending or repairing your home regardless of the size, scale or how much you intend to spend.

Now that you’ve decided which builder you would like to commit to undertake your project – it’s time to sign the contract!

Before you do, you must:


  1. Ensure you’ve chosen the right builder

    Make sure your builder has a good reputation and is licensed and registered. Ask for examples of their work. Try to avoid Googling online forums that may not provide accurate information about your builder. We offer our potential clients to contact past clients to ask what their experience was with us.

  2. Ask for a draft contract

    Your builder should give you a draft contract for you to review, before providing the final. Check all your details are correct and that you understand everything in the document.

  3. Ask questions

    Ask all the questions! If your builder isn’t able to, or won’t answer your questions about any details within the contract, they are not the right builder for you.

  4. Sit down with your builder

    Go through the entire draft contract with your builder, in person. It’s hard to communicate and discuss contracts via email and the phone.

  5. Check, check and check again!

    This is a big commitment. Make sure you check the final quote from the builder alongside your draft contract. Check your contact information is correct, check what the allowances include, check what isn’t included, check the progress payment schedule. Ask a friend to check it as well!

    A HIA Building Contract


Depending on which state or territory your project is located, there may be some choice in the residential building contract template. In the ACT, the most commonly used templates are the Housing Industry Australia (HIA) and Master Builders Australia (MBA) contract templates. These contracts are, obviously, legally binding and protect both the clients and the builder. They are specifically aimed at complying with the relevant Australian and state/territory legislation. However changes can be made if both parties agree.

When you consider which builder to proceed with, think about who is going to be able to communicate regularly, available to talk you through each stage, who you feel is trustworthy and knowledgeable.

Good luck with your building project!

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