Are you thinking of building a purpose built home to meet all of your needs, dreams and desires? If so, making sure that your home comes in on time, to budget, and is all that you expected, will be top of your list. One way to help with this is by putting a building contract in place which covers all the pitfalls so that you don’t have to worry about your dream project turning into a nightmare money pit.
It is important that you and your builder fully understand what is being built, when it will be built, and how it is being paid for, and that the price cannot change unless you alter the specification of what is being built. You do not want to find that your new home doesn’t have proper services, is too small or doesn’t have the fixtures and fittings you wanted – or that you don’t have any possibility of having these things remedied should they not be to standard.
How can a building contract protect you?
A properly drafted building contract will set out the timings of the works, what your builder is providing up front and when you will be paying for the work – payments are usually made following certificates of work completed which your builder issues on a monthly basis. You may also want to consider appointing your own qualified surveyor to check that you are paying for what has been done and that it has been done to the correct standard.
People often find they want to vary the specification, once a project has already started, so the building contract can also set out an agreed procedure for how any variations impact on the costs and timings of the build.
It is also possible to negotiate a contract so that, after completion of the building and when you have moved in, you withhold payment for a period after completion. This will allow for any defects or niggling jobs to come to light and ensure your builder comes back to fix the provbelms. A final payment can then be made once all defects have been made good.
How can you manage expectations?
Considering these things at the start will help to manage your own and your family’s expectations and give you an awareness of what the potential pitfalls could be.
The aim for the end of the process will be to have your dream home built to your wishes, at the price you budgeted for and in an acceptable timeframe. If anything has gone wrong or mistakes have been made, a properly negotiated building contract will ensure that you have peace of mind in those problems being resolved to your satisfaction.
For advice on a building contract or any other property matter, please contact Neil Powell or Roger Allsup in our Commercial Property team on 0161 475 7676.