New Home Build FAQs: Answered By Your Favourite Home Builder Smarties
What are the main building stages?
STAGE 1 – Slab prep
First things first, you’ll get to know your Client Liaison Officer. This is just a fancy way of saying a person who’ll keep you in the loop throughout the build. We then put together a schedule of work and materials needed, checking and calibrating your property boundaries. Then the earthworks begin to prepare your house and sand pad. We then add the pre-lays, concrete footings, and get your slab down. Let the countdown begin!
STAGE 2 – Brick work
Now that the slab’s down, things start to take shape. The bricks are delivered, and the bricklayer constructs the walls of your home. Once the brickwork is completed, we prep for the roof. During this stage, we’ll also contact you to book in a time to meet your Site Supervisor.
STAGE 3 – Roof over your head
Roofing materials are delivered, the frame is constructed, and then services (electrical, water, and gas) are installed to your walls and roof frame.
STAGE 4 – Lock it up
Windows, sliding doors, and external doors are installed. Gutters and roof covers go on.
Basically this is the stage when your house becomes lockable (aka no holes). A pretty high priority for most homeowners. We also complete wall render, install the ceiling, and complete the internal walls.
STAGE 5 – Interiors
We leave the cushion colour scheme to you but there are a few things needed before you can bring your Pinterest ‘dream home’ board to life. We install all internal doors, shelving, mouldings, kitchen cupboards, bathroom vanities, garage concrete floor, paving, shower screens, mirrors, tiling, and sliding robe doors. Pheww … then we break for a quick cuppa.
In this stage you’ll also have a lock-up meeting.
This is the stage where your dreams of hot showers in your shiny new bathroom begin to manifest. It’s *almost* time to say goodbye to all those cold, spluttery showers in your rental!
STAGE 6 – Let there be light
Time for some necessities like light and power. In this stage we install all electrical items, including light and power points, so that your appliances can do their thang. Tapware, your hot plate, and your hot water unit go in. Then we add the garage door, carpet, window treatments, and paint your home.
STAGE 7 – It’s yours
It’s been approximately 25 weeks (mother nature permitting) from the day your slab went down. And today’s the day you complete an inspection (PCI1) – bit of a flip from all the rent inspections you’ve had to suffer through! We complete and then sign off on the practical completion list of items (PCI2) and then the keys are handed over! Welcome home.
STAGE 8 – Maintenance
After six months we complete a home maintenance service. Pft, if only my lashes could last that long between maintenance!
How long does construction take?
Approximately 25 weeks* from slab down. That’s less time than it took us to get through To Kill A Mockingbird in year 11. And just like a reading schedule, the only thing that can get in the way is the weather. Who can read when there’s a raging thunderstorm outside? Just sayin’.
*This is an approximate timeline with individual circumstances permitting.
Do you offer fixed site costs?
Yes. And it includes the following:
- Removal of light vegetation
- Service connection from existing points (power, sewer, water, gas, and phone)
- 3-point NBN package
- All engineering fees (incl. retaining wall, wind loading, and stormwater)
- All shire fees, deposits, and bonds
- Cut off drain to driveway (where req)
- Boundary fence removal and re-installment
- H2 treated timber for protection of European house borer
- Concrete pumps as required
- Kerb and footpath repairs (if damaged during construction)
Am I eligible for fixed site costs?
Fixed site costs are only available in specific areas. Please get in touch and we can let you know if your build is eligible.
When do I choose my colours and finishes?
Once you sign your building contract, your Prestart Consultant will contact you to arrange a formal prestart meeting. In this meeting you’ll select everything from floor covering to kitchen tapware.
Need colour inspo stat? You can visit The Smart Gallery from Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm to get a head start on your colour selections, or visit this awesome blog our design smarties put together.
When do I meet my Site Supervisor?
You’ll get four meetings onsite with the Supervisor. The intro meeting happens just after the brickwork has started, a lock up meeting after the house is at lock up stage, another during your final inspection, and then at the final sign off.
Why has my slab been poured but not my garage slab?
You’re right, this can seem a little strange. But, the reason is all about layering (because if layering can affect your winter wardrobe, it can probs affect your build too).
We pour the garage slab (hardstand) towards the end of construction because it’s usually one course lower than the main slab. If we poured it at the same time, it would interfere with the brickwork and be subject to damage.
Why is there a gap where my concrete slab does not extend to the garage wall?
The garage wall is a single leaf of brickwork that extends below the slab to the footings rather than sitting on the slab. The gap is there to make sure the slab doesn’t interfere with the alignment of the wall. Never fear, we fill it later in the building process.
Should I expect to see people onsite every day?
During construction, it’s likely that there’ll be days where tradespeople are not onsite; however, it’s completely normal and won’t affect your construction timeline. It could be due to weather conditions, scheduling, or the current stage could be completed ahead of time.
What effect can the weather have on my build?
Just like your holiday plans, weather can be the force that throws everything off. Snorkeling in a thunderstorm, no thanks. Cocktails in …. actually cocktails transcend mother nature. But back to the build. Rainy days and hot days can make working conditions unsuitable or unsafe.
Rain can impact the delivery of materials, delay the slab pour, and delay bricks being laid. Rain also prevents roof carpenters and roof installers from working as wind and rain can cause dangerous working conditions. If only building sites were equipped with the same stamina as an Aperol Spritz in Maldives.
Can I walk onto my site during construction?
We don’t recommend it. We totally get how exciting it is to see progress being made but we’re always advocates of safety first. Having said that, you’ll have four scheduled site visits throughout the build, so you’ll never be out of the loop.
On the point of safety, we ensure that anyone onsite has undergone the necessary Australian training and can follow safety guidelines. Just showing off a few of our smarts for extra good measure.
Can I get a key before my home’s finished?
They do say the best things in life are worth waiting for, and the same goes for your new home. We don’t hand over the keys until everything is done, final checks are complete, and settlement payments are through. But we promise it’s be worth the wait.
Is it normal for my bricks to look discoloured?
Yep, this is completely normal but it’s not permanent, just like that time Britney Spears got married for 55 hours.
Now, to show off a few of our technical brick smarts (it’s definitely a thing): In the first 6-12 months, light coloured clay contains vanadium salts which can appear as a yellow or green discolouration on the bricks under certain conditions. It will generally wash off or disappear naturally over time.
Can I make structural changes during construction?
Once construction has started, you won’t be able to make any structural changes without incurring extra costs and extending the build timeline. This is because your plans must go through shire approval before construction.
How soon can I get contractors into my home to measure for things like floor coverings or window treatments?
As a general rule we don’t allow contractors on site until after handover. However, you can chat to your Client Liaison Officer to see if it’s possible to arrange for a contractor to measure up at the same time as your final inspection (PCI1). They won’t be able to do any work until the keys are handed over, but if you ask nicely, there’s a chance they’ll be able to measure up.
Can I get some work done to my home during construction?
You won’t be able to do other work while your home in under construction. This can affect construction timeframes, quality control, and warranty periods. But, in the meantime, you can make some serious progress on your interior inspo.
Pinterest boards don’t build themselves you know!
Also, our hashtag #fromsmarttofinish is the perfect way to lose hours of time while you’re chained to your desk. Who needs an 8-hour workday anyway?
Can I hire a building Inspector at my own cost?
Yes, you sure can. They’ll just need to work around our inspection schedules and have a current White Card. They’ll also need to fill in a form at our office before they go onsite – your Client Liaison Officer can help you get this sorted.
Will any damaged items be fixed prior to handover?
Definitely! Your Site Supervisor will complete any required work before your home is handed over. You’ll also get a chance to walk through your new home and point out anything that isn’t 110% perfection (which is the aim of our game).
Will my house be cleaned before I get my keys?
We do a builder’s clean before handing over the keys. This kinda sounds like we get a couple of builders to walk through your place with a trowel smeared with Jif and hope for the best. It actually means that we wipe down surfaces and clean the mirrors and windows before handing over.
I opted for the fencing or landscaping package when I purchased my block. When can I get started on these?
Your front landscaping and fencing is usually organised between you and the developer. Once you’ve received your keys, the fencing and landscaping packages can be installed. The construction process has a way of damaging your new lawn so we need to keep the two separated – you wouldn’t want unleaded going near your diesel masterpiece. It’s kinda the same thing.
What if something goes wrong with my home after handover?
We got you! Your home comes with a six-month service warranty period. So, if anything goes wrong during the first six months of owning the home, just let us know and if we’re at fault we’ll come out or contact the supplier and rectify the issue.
What warranties come with my home?
A new home warranty is (almost) as important as Lizzo after a breakup. That’s why all of our smart homes come with the following warranties:
- Six months maintenance period
- Lifetime structural warranty (non-transferable)
- Individual warranties for electrical appliances
Does my home meet Australian Building Standards?
OF COURSE. Sure, caps is a bit extra but that’s how we do things ‘round here. Because we would never describe your home as ‘standard’.
Yes, it meets all Australian Building Standards. #onlythebest
Is your Q not here? No problem.
Send what’s on your mind through to us and we’ll get back to you a to the sap.