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Building Terms

Term
Definition
All Weather Access Adequate access to the site as reasonably required by the builder for the builder to carry out the works.
Base Stage The stage when the buildings floor is finished.
Boundary The official line separating the outer edges of your block of land from neighbouring properties.
Bridging Finance Short-term loan used to finance a new property whilst waiting for your existing property to sell.
Builder The party named in your building contract.
Builder’s Warranty/Indemnity Insurance Compulsory insurance for builders that protects homeowners from faulty work in the case that the builder dies, goes missing or becomes insolvent.
Building Envelope A “zone” within a parcel of land in which you are permitted to build.  You cannot build outside the envelope.
Building Period The time that is allowed for your home to reach practical completion.
Building Trades All trades which have a part in the construction of a building (e.g. carpentry, masonry, painting, plumbing, electricity, air-conditioning).
Colour Selection A meeting with the colour consultant to record all internal and external colours to accompany the orders for materials etc. for the home.
Commencement When the builder commences physical work on the site.
Contract The signed building agreement outlining the legal terms, conditions and obligations of the owner and the builder.
Contractor The party engaged to supply goods or services.
Contract Documents Working drawings, specification and details which form part of the formal contract between the owner and the builder.
Contract Price Amount payable to your builder for any work.  It can be adjusted according to the terms set out in the contract.
Conveyancing The legal process involved in passing a piece of property from one person to another.
Conveyancer Legal professional who assists in the transfer of property.
Cooling-off Period The period when a person may legally withdraw from a contract without incurring a penalty.
Covenant Guidelines that require structures in a particular development or area to conform to specific standards
Days Means calendar days
Default Interest The amount payable to the builder if you do not pay by the due date.         
Defect Liability Period The period specified in the contract which the builder is required to rectify any defects.
Defects Work that is faulty or not up to the standard specified in the contract
Deposit Is the amount stated as the deposit in the schedule of your building contract.
Easement Area of land within a site containing a pipe (sewer/stormwater) or right of access or other right granted by a government body.  Cannot be built within or over.
Enclosed Stage When the following are fixed in place (even if only temporarily), external walls, roof covering, external doors (without garage door), external windows.
Equity The amount of your home that you actually own (that is, the actual value of your home minus the amount owing on your mortgage).
Façade The outer appearance of the home.
Final Claim Claim by the builder for payment of the balance of the unpaid contract price, as adjusted by any additions or deductions made under the contract.
Fixed Rate Loan A loan where the rate of interest is fixed for a certain amount of time.
Fixing Stage When the internal lining, architraves, cornice, skirting, doors to rooms, baths, shower trays, wet area tiling, built-in shelves, built in cabinets and built-in cupboards of a building are fitted and fixed in position.
Footing The construction whereby the weight of the structure is transferred from the base structure to the foundation.
Foundation The ground upon which the footings of a building are constructed.
Frame Stage When a buildings frame is finished.
Handover The stage where the home is completed and the keys are exchanged for the final payment.
Liquidated Damages The amount of money you are entitled to if your home is not practically completed by the end of the building period.
Niche A hollow recess or indent in a wall.
Patio An under roof outside entertaining area.
Plans Technical drawings completed by an architect or draftsperson and used in the construction of a house.
Practical Completion The stage when the works have been completed in accordance with the contract apart from minor defects and is reasonably suitable for habitation.
Progress Payments Payments made to the builder at specified stages during the building process.
Relaxation An approval by council to vary its own requirements.  Usually associated with boundary setbacks.
Soil Test Test on the building site that determines the stability of soil and the type of footings required.
Specifications A detailed description of work to be undertaken including the type and quantity of materials that will be used.
Stamp Duty A state government tax paid on the value of a property.
Variable Rate Loan The amount of interest owing on the loan changes according to the rates set by the bank.
Variation Is an omission, addition or change to the works, or a change in the manner of carrying out the works and should be outlined in the contract.  A variation can be made at your request or at the request of the builder.
Vendor A person who offers a property for sale.
Warranty A statement that guarantees the material and workmanship of a product is defect-free and will remain so for a specified period of time.
Works Means the work to be carried out, completed and handed over to you in accordance with what is set out in your contract documents including the variations.
Zero Lot A block of land where a dwelling can be built within 200mm of the boundary