What’s the process when building a house

Spare Bedroom House

What’s the process when building a house

Understanding the process when building a house is an important first step. Knowing what to expect throughout the entire process will ensure that you don’t have any surprises when it comes to planning, design, construction & handover. In this article we discuss the common steps associated with building a brand new custom home and how having the right information early and understanding the building process can ensure you get the home you’ve been dreaming of.

Planning your build

At the very first stage of creating your dream home you need to do some extensive planning. Being able to engage a home builder or designer early ensures that you are planning to build a home that maximises your land, fits with your lifestyle and meets your budget. Things you should take into account at this stage and prepare for include:

  • The size of your land and the size of the new home you’re proposing to build
  • Your land and how it will affect the design and build e.g. is it sloping or in a bushfire prone area
  • Your overall budget and what is most important to have in your new home
  • Understand any restrictions that exist on your land
  • Preparation of a survey by a registered surveyor

Design & building approval

Once you start planning your build and understand more about what is possible on your block of land & budget you can start to move towards developing a concept design for your new home. At this early stage it’s important to understand more about what kind of home you’re looking to build. If you want to use a standard design you may be inclined to go with a project home builder where you can select from pre-designed homes. If you want something more aligned to your lifestyle, needs & budget a custom home may be an ideal choice.

The initial concept design will give you a visual representation of how your home will look and sit on your block. At this early stage you can work with a home designer around what you like and don’t like before moving forward with plans and engineering. Once you are happy with a concept design and the plans and engineering have been completed you are then able to get accurate quotes from builders on the cost to build your new home. With plans available you can submit them to council to obtain development approval and a construction certificate so your build can commence.


With plans and engineering available you can then move forward and get quotes to build your new home. At this stage it’s important to compare like quotes and take particular care when looking at what is included in the price to build your new home. Typically at this stage a detailed quote should take a couple of weeks to prepare and present. Some builders may give you a square metre estimate to determine your budget based on the plans before proceeding to a formal quote. A full take off and quote is much more detailed and takes time to prepare and complete.


Once you accept a quote from a builder the next stage involves acceptance of the building contract so construction commence. Any builder you decide to use should have an industry compliant contract completed. Once your contract is signed and accepted the builder can organise a home warranty certificate for your project. A deposit shouldn’t be paid for the construction until you have been issued with a copy of the home warranty certificate.


The exciting part is when construction commences on your brand new home. The builder should be able to provide you with a schedule for the completion of works. The completion of works should be aligned to the progress payment schedule in your contract. At periodic points the builder should be able to show you the progress on site and your feedback and collaboration will be required throughout the build to make decisions and provide selections for your home. Inspections should also take place by the council or a private certifier to review the work completed and that it is satisfactory. You should receive copies of these inspection reports.

Practical completion & handover

Upon practical completion of your home the builder will do a walkthrough of the home with you and completion a practical completion checklist. Typically you have a defects liability period of around 6 weeks to report any defects to be fixed. It’s time to celebrate as your new home is ready for you to move in.