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What to expect when you’re building: The Handover

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

Building or renovating your home can be an exciting but stressful time. It often means months of planning, decision making, negotiating and problem solving. When you finally reach the end of the project, handover is a time typically filled with nervous anticipation. So, in the lead up to handover what things do you need to consider to ensure you get the outcomes you expect?

Firstly, let’s clarify what *handover* actually means

Handover is the time when you make your final payment.

If you’re building, your house is ready for handover when all the building work is completed and you’re able to move in. It must be suitable for habitation and this means it must function as a normal home, be weatherproof and have basic utilities such as power and water.

If you’re renovating, when you reach handover there mustn’t be any major defects. Minor outstanding items are acceptable, such as painting touch ups.

Leading up to handover

Two to three weeks before handover, your builder should communicate and confirm the handover date with you.

At this time, it’s a good idea to organise an onsite inspection with your builder a week or so before handover day so you can discuss any potential issues and ensure they get resolved. If you require technical advice to assist you with identifying any issues, you can consider engaging a building inspector.

During the inspection, document any minor defects. Ensure this is dated and in writing. You and the builder should sign this document and include details and dates about what the defects are and when they will be fixed. If you and the builder do not agree on all of the defects, ensure you still list the issue/s on the inspection document.

Where you and the builder cannot agree and reach a resolution, you can get in touch with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) regarding the complaints process.

Handover day

On the day of the handover, ensure you obtain copies of any outstanding paperwork. For example:

  • Certificates of inspection for waterproofing, frame, slab etc…

  • Any reports or notices issued by service providers, such as water, electricity, sewerage.

  • Product warranties for any appliances.

  • The practical completion certificate (if it is a new home).

Final payment instalment

Once all of the contracted work is complete, you can pay the final instalment. Work must be completed in accordance with the plans and specifications, and all relevant laws and legislation. Read your contract before making the payment and ensure the builder has provided all of the required certificates of inspection. For small project and renovations, ensure work has been completed as per the plans and contract.

Need some help with handover or defect issues? Head over to the QBCC website or get in touch with our team for legal assistance.


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