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    AConsumerGuide

    BUILDING ANDRENOVATINGIN THE NT

    www.nt.gov.au

    December 2011

    DEPARTMENT OF LANDS AND PLANNING

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    Consumer Guide

    ii

    Acknowledgements

    The Department of Lands and Planning acknowledges with thanks that

    certain content of this document has been reproduced from various internet

    publications with permission from the following copyright owners:

    Environment and Sustainable Development (ACT):

    http://www.actpla.act.gov.au/publications_forms/publications

    NSW Fair Trading (New South Wales):

    http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/Tenants_and_home_owners/Home_

    building_and_renovating.html

    Queensland Building Services Authority (Queensland):

    http://www.bsa.qld.gov.au/FormsPublicationsProducts/Publications/

    Pages/Publications.aspx

    Ofce of Consumer and Business Affairs (South Australia):

    http://www.ocba.sa.gov.au/consumeradvice/renovate/index.html

    Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading (Tasmania)http://www.consumer.tas.gov.au/publications/search_topics?queries_

    topic_query=building&topic_query_logic=AND&search_page_111936_

    submit_button=Submit&current_result_page=1&results_per_

    page=15&submitted_search_category=&mode=

    Consumer Affairs (Victoria):

    http://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/CA256EB5000644CE/page/

    Building+and+renovating-For+home+owners+and+buyers-

    Contracts+for+building+projects?OpenDocument&1=09-

    Building+and+renovating~&2=10-For+home+owner-

    s+and+buyers~&3=070-Contracts+for+building+projects~

    Department of Commerce (Western Australia):

    http://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/ConsumerProtection/Content/Property_

    renting/Home_building/index.htm

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    Contents Contents

    1.0 INTRODUCTION 3

    1.1 Building denitions 4

    1.2 What does a builder do? 4

    1.3 Building control areas 4

    1.4 The Building process permits and paperwork 5

    1.4.1. Preparing Plans 5

    1.4.2. Applying for a Building Permit 6

    1.4.3. Assessment by a Building Certier 6

    1.4.4. Building Permit 7

    1.4.5. Before Construction Starts 7

    1.4.6. Inspections 71.4.7. Completion 7

    1.4.8. Occupancy Permit 7

    1.4.9. What happens if your Building Permit lapses? 8

    2.0 WHAT CAN I AFFORD TO BUILD? 9

    2.1 Budget 9

    2.2 Finance 9

    2.3 Government assistance 9

    3.0 CHOOSING THE LAND 10

    4.0 BUILDING OPTIONS 10

    4.1 Project Homes 10

    4.2 Display homes 10

    4.3 Individually designed homes 11

    4.3.1. Selecting design services 11

    4.3.2. Your role in the design process 11

    4.3.3. The designers role in the design process 11

    4.3.4. Questions to ask the designer in your rst meeting 12

    4.4 What is and isnt included in the price of the home? 12

    5.0 EXTENDING AND RENOVATING YOUR HOME 13

    6.0 CHECKING YOUR BUILDING PLANS 13

    7.0 CHOOSING A BUILDER OR CONTRACTOR 14

    8.0 BEFORE YOU SIGN THE BUILDING CONTRACT 15

    8.1 Contract Checklist 16

    8.2 Are terms of your contract unfair? 17

    8.3 Tips for avoiding contractual disputes 17

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    8.3.1. Builders and trade contractors 17

    8.3.2. Consumers 17

    9.0 BEFORE CONSTRUCTION STARTS 18

    9.1 Checklist 18

    9.2 Building certier 18

    9.3 Insurance 18

    10.0 ONCE CONSTRUCTION STARTS 19

    10.1 Construction checklist 19

    10.2 Changing the contract 19

    10.3 Inspections 20

    10.4 Progress payments 21

    10.5 Completion, handover and nal payment 21

    10.6 Occupancy Permit 22

    11.0 BUILDING DISPUTES 23

    11.1 Consumer guarantees for services 23

    11.2 Talk to the builder 24

    11.3 Write a letter to the builder 24

    11.4 Dispute resolution 24

    11.5 Take formal action 25

    12.0 OWNER-BUILDER 26

    12.1 Mandatory insurance requirements 27

    12.2 Other insurance to consider 27

    12.3 Tradespeople 27

    12.4 Tips 27

    13.0 TERMITE PROTECTION 28

    14.0 GLOSSARY 29

    15.0 WHO TO CONTACT 32

    16.0 DISCLAIMER 32

    CHECKLISTS 33-36

    1. Building

    2. Before signing a contract

    3. Before construction starts

    4. Construction

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    Building or renovating your home canbe a rewarding experience, but the

    process can be complex. Before you

    start, there is a lot of information to collect

    and important decisions to make. Take

    your time and research thoroughly as

    this could be one of the largest nancial

    decisions you will ever make. This guide

    has been prepared to help you on this

    journey. Checklists have been included at

    the end of this document to assist you.

    If you are considering building a new home you canchoose to:

    Buy a house and land package;

    Build a house based on a display home on your

    own land;

    Build a home through a sales agent;

    Use a designer and a smaller building company;

    Use a small design and build company;

    Become an owner builder; or

    Buy a home being constructed off the plan.

    If extending or renovating your home you can:

    Use a company that manages your plans,

    building permits and construction;

    Use a designer and a smaller building company;

    Use a small design and build company;

    Engage a builder to supervise the entire project

    and coordinate subcontractors for you; or

    Become an owner-builder.

    The level of involvement in your project will vary

    according to the option you choose.

    1.0 Introduction

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    TIER 1

    Darwin, Lake Bennett and Alice Springs BuildingControl Areas

    TIER 2

    All other Building Control Areas

    Full certication process applies for all buildings.

    For prescribed building works* full certication includes;

    building permit;

    mandatory inspections;

    builders declaration; and

    occupancy permit.

    Prescribed building works* must be built by a

    registered building contractor residential or an approved

    owner-builder.

    Building Code of Australia (BCA) and technical regulations

    apply in full.

    Home warranty insurance (HWI)** will be required.

    Full certication process for all buildings other than those

    specied below.

    For prescribed building works*

    except for Class 1a

    attached duplexes etc and Class 2 attached units etc

    the

    following part certication applies:

    building permit;

    nomandatory inspections;

    builders declaration; and

    no

    occupancy permit. Prescribed building works* must be built by a

    registered building contractor residential or an approved

    owner-builder.

    Building Code of Australia (BCA) and technical

    regulations apply in full.

    Home warranty insurance (HWI)** willnotbe required.

    1.1 Building defnitions

    Understanding the language of residential building

    can help you to avoid problems. It is recommended

    that you read the Glossary at the end of this

    document.

    1.2 What does a builder do?

    Many builders do not actually do building work

    themselves. They:

    Manage and coordinate home building or

    renovation projects;

    Manage the purchase and delivery of materials;

    and/or

    Subcontract the work of tradespeople such as

    electricians, plumbers, bricklayers, painters and

    carpenters during the course of construction.

    The builder is required to ensure that any personsengaged are appropriately qualied.

    A tradesperson works in a particular eld in the home

    building industry, for example: concreters, bricklayers,

    carpenters, electricians, plumbers, plasterers, tilers,

    painters, fencers, and gastters.

    1.3 Building control areas

    In recognition of the difculties and costs related to

    engaging building certiers in areas remote from

    Darwin and Alice Springs, from 3 July 2006 the

    Northern Territory (NT) Government established a

    two-tier Building Control Area system. The following

    table provides details of the certication requirements:

    *Prescribed building works are works worth more than $12,000 on: Class 1- a detached single house and attached duplexes etc; Class 2 - attached units, ats etc; Class 10 - garage, carport, etc attached to and built at the same time as the Class 1a or Class 2 and a retaining wall that is not attached but is integral to the structural integrity of the building.

    ** Home Warranty Insurance has not been introduced to date - Home Building Certication Fund requirements apply.

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    1.4 The Building process permits

    and paperwork

    Building work requires permits and paperwork prior to

    work commencing and on completion. It is important

    that you understand the building process and what

    documents are required by the NT building legislation.

    These documents are designed to protect you.

    The rst thing to consider is whether or not you will

    need a permit for your project. The Building Checklist

    on page 33 provides a general overview of what

    building wor