News - Jun 07, 2018

Common Building Related Questions Answered

When you make the decision to build a home it can sometimes feel like you need to learn a new language, which on top of the amount of information you need to absorb, can be daunting. Many builders will have guides for first time builders which can help navigate through the new lingo, and there are some great reference websites worth checking out too. Here are a few common terms to get your new vocabulary started.

What does land title mean? A land title signifies the legal ownership and right to use a piece of property. Some land will already be titled, which means the land ownership can be transferred straight away and building can commence once payment has been made. Land that is yet to be titled (it may still be under development) does not have the Certificate of Title released, which affects the settlement and construction start dates.

What is a slab? The slab being laid is the one of the first major milestones in your construction journey. This is the foundation for your new home and is designed according to your land conditions (slope and soil classification) and home design.

What does a Building Surveyor do? A Building Surveyor is an accredited professional with specialist knowledge in the building process. Your building contract will include detail of the construction stages that include an inspection from a Building Surveyor to assess compliance in alignment with relevant codes and regulations. In addition, it is possible to engage an independent inspector yourself for a further level of assurance (check with your builder for further details).

What does Certificate of Occupancy mean? A Certificate of Occupancy signifies that your home is safe to live in and complies with the relevant regulations and codes. A Building Surveyor will conduct a final inspection to issue the certificate, which can then be presented to your bank to release the final payment for your home.

What are site costs? Site costs include the collated costs to get your site ready to build on. Typically, these can be classified in two areas, infrastructure costs and site works costs. Infrastructure costs can include permit fees, site tests (soil and contour surveys), insurance and temporary fencing. While site works can cover slab design, rock and soil removal, additional soil requirements and retaining walls in needed. Some builders offer fixed site costs upfront, while others will provide an estimate to be revised once you land has been tested. Your builder will be able to provide detail on their site cost inclusions.

What do progress payments mean? When you build a house, you pay a deposit and then make payments for completed stages of building in accordance with your HIA contract. These are called stage or progress payments.

What is a crossover? The section of your driveway in front of your property front boundary (including any kerb and channel and footpath) where you access from the road, is called the crossover. When you purchase a block of land, this crossover location is pre-set, which will influence your home design.

What do Design Covenants mean? Also known as Design Guidelines, covenants are created to provide guidance to new home buyers and to ensure an optimal finished design outcome for a new community. They are not intended to restrict home buyers but rather give them assurance of the quality of the homes in their neighbourhood.

Why is temporary fencing needed? Temporary fencing installed around a construction site acts to discourage unauthorised entry to the work site.

Can I visit my site during construction? Most builders will invite you to a series of site inspections throughout your building journey, and will discourage you from visiting outside of these times, to protect your safety.

What is stamp duty? Stamp duty is often the forgotten cost involved in the purchase of property, which can tip some budgets over. It is a tax imposed by all Australian territories and states on property purchases. You can use this calculator to work out the stamp duty you will be liable for, based on purchase price, location and purpose.

Who is entitled to a First Home Owner Grant? Visit the State Revenue Office ( to check eligibility for the grant.

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