Building a house can be stressful and expensive so ensuring you are aware of your rights and obligations, and those of the builder, is crucial.

Prior to hiring a builder you should complete your own due diligence on:

● your chosen builder

● your financial position

● the requirements of your lender during the build (if any)

● consents

● what the builder’s quote encompasses and what it does not

● the estimated build time.

Thorough due diligence before entering into a building contract and starting the build can help to reduce costs, aid the builders and ensure that no unnecessary delays/costs are incurred.

For a build of over $30,000 the builder is required to provide you with a building contract. There are four groups of documents your builder needs to provide you with:

1. a written building contract to be signed and dated before the work is carried out

2. a Ministry of Business Innovation and Enterprise (MBIE) consumer protection checklist

3. a MBIE disclosure document

4. copies of the various documents to be given to you at the end of the job (insurance policies, guarantees, warranties, maintenance requirements).

Building rules and regulations are always changing so contracts should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. also has a standard checklist for you to review which lists what you should expect to see in your contract.

Given the investment made in a build, it is highly recommended that you review these documents with your lawyer so they can explain the terms and raise any ‘red flags’ in the contract before it is signed.