Building a house can become a nightmare if the process isn’t monitored closely. It is important to keep in close contact with the builder throughout the building process to ensure the construction is going to plan.
To help avoid costly mistakes as you build you house, take a look at the construction checklist below. This checklist may also be useful for major renovations as well.
For further information on building a house, take a look at the Building & Renovating eBook. Download the free eBook here.
The House building checklist
Home loan / construction loan and finance - preliminary
• Construction loan pre-approval
• Check builder’s references for new homes constructed
• Check internet for feedback on builder, comments in news
• Land selection
• Location requirements met
• Council enquiry regarding future plans and development for the area, restrictions
New home construction contract
• Provide a copy of the new home building contract to your lawyer or solicitor and get their input
• Provide a copy to your home loan provider who is going to give you the construction loan
• Check for restrictions & covenants
• Prepare your own list of things that you want in your home and compare with the contract for building your new house. You might want some of these included in the construction contract.
• Home warranty insurance
• Electricity connection, capacity for future additions
• Natural gas connection, if available
• Footpaths along street
• Driveway & footpath to front door
• Paving to clothes hoist
• Nature of finish to concreted areas – Pattern paving? Colour?
• Garage or car port
• Alarm system
• Telephone connection
• Telephone internal wiring to multiple points
• TV antenna
• Cable TV connection
• TV connections to multiple points
• Computer network cabling
• Intercom with appropriate cabling
• Remote gate operation with cabling
• Video monitoring and cabling
• Window coverings
• Exterior window sun protection
• Roller shutters over windows – mains electricity or solar powered
• Storm water storage, means of use – pump included?
• Electricity and water to detached building, such as a shed
• Fences around side and rear boundaries (height/material)
• Fences between front and back yard
• Landscaping, garden edging
• Watering systems, timers or computer controlled
• Provision of garden soil, including lawn areas
• Removal of rubbish
New house specifications
• Make and model
• Automatic features, timers
• Check user reports on internet for each
• Kitchen specifications – drawer slides, cupboard hinges, cabinet heights, bench top material
• Check brands and models with local plumbing supply company
• Heating and cooling
• Ducted to which areas, how many points? Air return location.
• How many split units? Where? What capacity? Where are the exterior units? Exterior units on a slab?
• Check independently with a retail supplier regarding recommended brands and required capacity
• Compressor driven unit, not evaporative cooling? If not, check with others in the area with evaporative cooling as to whether or not it causes moisture problems in their home.
• Access to central heating unit. Does it have a pilot flame that may need to be relit on occasion?
• Hot water system
• Insulation (Check with local council regarding legal requirements and best practice recommendations)
• Floor coverings
• Included in all areas?
• Specifications – check with local suppliers for long lasting, quality products
• Appropriate for each area?
• Wall finishes
• Colours for each room of the house
• Specification for the product used
• Style of cornices, architraves & skirting
• Finish used on natural wood items – stain, number coats of clear finish
• Doors & hardware
• Check brands and models with a service oriented hardware store
• Dead locks on external doors to the house
External doors solid and weatherproof
• Security doors – brand and model
• Visit a door supplier and talk about options, see how those being offered by your builder compare with their recommendations
• Window specifications – colonial bars, fly screens, colour
• Nature of pest barriers and protection – check with local council for best practice
New house construction plans
• Elevation of slab compared to surrounding area
• Drainage to low areas with provision for overflow around or away from house
• Offset compared to neighbours
• Access to back yard by foot
• Access to back yard by vehicle
• Adequate car parking for your family, visitors
• Able to reverse into the street or turn around off street
• Double driveway retains its full width to allow cars to park side by side or get past each other
• Parking areas for recreational vehicles
• Bulky items storage (Christmas tree, etc.)
• Garden equipment storage
• Recreation equipment storage, including bicycles
• Potential for headlights from vehicles on the street to shine on windows
• Weather protection at entry points – every exterior door
• Ceiling heights
• Ramps vs. steps at entry – anyone with disabilities likely to make regular visits?
• View ‘locations’ suit natural views
• Location of water supply matches meter location
• Sanitary sewer not under driveway if it requires a vent (generally not a good idea to have it under the driveway regardless – it may plug up one day and need to be dug up!)
• Storm drains directed to appropriate places
• Outside water taps, water supply for irrigation systems
House construction progress
• Periodic site visits
• Watch for variations from standard plans – if you have made a variation, make sure it’s being followed
• When driveway being formed, measure the width before they pour. Use a tape measure.
• Stay in contact with your home construction loan lender regarding progress payments and the associated valuations
Completion of your newly constructed home
• Walk through inspection with notepad and camera.
• Look carefully at everything, note down anything that’s amiss.
• Poor finish
• Unpainted items
• Missing hardware
• Missing inclusions such as ceiling fans, heat lamps, etc
• Wrong appliances, controls, type of light fittings
• Cupboard doors that don’t fit properly
• Other doors that don’t close properly – catches don’t line up with strikers
You will be able to continue to call on the builder to fix things after settlement, but it’s best to identify any problems as soon as you are aware of them.