2018/19 | VOL 18
/ BUILD / EXTEND / RENOVATE
P TODA ERS
COMMERCIAL & BUILDERS
RESIDENTIAL & DRY
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Contents / Welcome message from Master Builders CEO
/ Why build with a Master Builder?
/ Build new or improve?
/ Acquiring Land in the ACT
/ Arranging finance
/ Designing your home
/ DIY and owner builders
/ Getting quotes
/ Contracts & variations
/ Concrete Myths Busted
/ Approvals & inspections
/ During construction
/ Avoiding disputes
/ Before you move in
/ Non-conforming products
Master Builders Association of the ACT
/ Home maintenance & repair
1 Iron Knob St, Fyshwick ACT 2609
/ Home Warranty Insurance / Fidelity Fund Cover
PO Box 1211, Fyshwick ACT 2609
/ Sample Building Schedule
/ Master Builders Building Excellence Awards 2018
Tel: (02) 6175 5900 Fax: (02) 6280 9118 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.mba.org.au
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/ Welcome message from Master Builders CEO Building a new home or renovating your existing home, is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. Renovations and additions can improve the liveability and sustainability of your home with careful planning, thoughtful design and a considered choice of builder. At the same time, the complexities of building a new home or undergoing a major renovation can be overwhelming. This information guide will help to lead you through the building process from start to finish, so you will always be fully informed and confident about what happens next. Master Builders ACT is also here to provide you with any additional guidance you may need. The first step in the building process should always be finding a builder who is deeply invested in their own reputation. In Canberra, it will almost certainly be a Master Builder. Being invested in their reputation means the builder is as committed to building happy clients as they are to the quality build. One of our aims at Master Builders ACT is to encourage a strong relationship between you and your builder and help you understand the important steps in seeing your project unfold successfully. We hope this magazine will assist you in making informed decisions about your building project, whether it is a new home or renovations to an existing home.
Michael Hopkins CEO, Master Builders ACT
Is your builder a Master Builder? Whether you are building a new house, renovating an existing house, adding a pergola or that extra room, make sure you use someone you can trust. Ask the Question is My Builder a Master Builder All members of the Master Builders Association of the ACT go through a thorough application process.
Master Builders Code of Conduct Members of the Master Builders Association are bound by the National Code of Practice. For a copy of the Code please contact the Master Builders Association of the ACT or visit our website.
Master Builders Support of Consumers The Master Builders provides contracts to ensure that dealings between builders and their customers are clearly set out and both parties know what to expect. Before signing a Master Builders contract or accepting a quote from a Member of the Master Builders you can contact our association for clarification on any questions you may have. It’s a matter of knowing who you can trust.
Master Builders Association of the ACT 1 Iron Knob St, Fyshwick ACT 2609 PO Box 1211, Fyshwick ACT 2609 Tel: (02) 6280 9119 Fax: (02) 6249 8374 Email: email@example.com Web: www.mba.org.au
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/ Why build with a Master Builder? If you’re looking to build or renovate in the ACT or surrounding region, building with a member of Master Builders ACT should be one of your priorities. Our members represent the top residential and commercial builders, civil contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and professionals that Canberra has to offer. Based on research conducted in 2016, consumers agreed that the Master Builders guarantees a better standard of builder or tradesperson, and Master Builder membership gives consumers a level of confidence in their builder or tradesperson. The Master Builders ACT Building and Renovating Guide provides a wealth of information and advice for anyone embarking on a home building or renovation project. You can use the ‘Find a Builder’ search on www.mba.org.au to help you find a Master Builder for your upcoming project.
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MASTER BUILDERS ASSOCIATION OF THE ACT
Consumer attitudes towards Master Builders ACT agree
Strongly agreed or slightly agreed that the Master Builders guarantees a better standard for a builder or tradesperson
Strongly agreed or slightly agreed that the Master Builders has a good reputation with the general public
Market Research Summary of Findings
Strongly agreed or slightly agreed that membership with the Master Builders gives the consumer confidence in a builder or tradesperson
Results extracted from Footprints Market Research. Research conducted February - March 2016. Sample size: 396 participants
The Master Builders 5-step checklist to building and renovating
Have a realistic budget, get finance approval early, and get your design/plans prepared. This will help you determine your priorities and the likely costs of the building works.
Obtain quotes from your preferred builders to compare and then choose your builder remembering that, “cheapest isn’t always best”. Once you’ve decided who your builder will be check with us to see if your builder is a Master Builder.
Read and understand your building contract before signing. Have a chat to your builder about your concerns or seek independent advice if you have any questions before you sign the contract.
Maintain open two-way communication with your builder through the process. Communication is the best way to avoid disputes. Also remember that you have obligations under the contract too!
Discuss home maintenance and warranties with your builder.
/ Build new or improve? Build new or improve – only you can decide – but remember to consider all aspects before making a decision.
Why you should build new? There are lots of reasons why you would decide to build a new home, rather than buy an established home: •• Build to suit you. When you build new, you can design your home specifically to meet your requirements, and suit your family and lifestyle. •• Energy efficiency. New homes must meet a 6-star energy efficiency rating, which may reduce your energy consumption and lower your costs of heating and cooling. •• Pay less stamp duty. There can be stamp duty savings when you build new rather than buy an established home. Check out the ACT Revenue Office stamp duty calculator to compare the difference. •• Less maintenance. New homes require less ongoing maintenance than older, established homes. •• Statutory warranties. You have the peace of mind that your home is covered by a home warranty insurance scheme or fidelity fund, covering structural defects for six years, and two years for non-structural defects. If your preference is to move and build a new home make sure that the suburb you choose has the amenities and conveniences that you want and need. You also need to consider that newer suburbs generally have smaller lot sizes than more established suburbs. Once you make your decision, you are ready to move to the next step in the building process – finding land.
Why improve? Here are some good reasons why you might choose to extend or renovate your existing home: •• Save money on selling and moving costs. If you decide to stay in your home and renovate, you will save money on conveyancing/legal fees, real estate agent’s commission and advertising/marketing fees, and removalist fees. •• Improve value of your home. Extending or renovating your house will add more value and improve your lifestyle. •• Location. Renovating is great if you like the suburb and local community you live in. •• Be Green. Renovating an existing house can be a sustainable alternative to building a new home. The majority of the existing home can be retained and improved, a number of materials can be recycled, your garden will be retained, and there will be overall savings compared with building a new home. •• No need to find a block of land. Choosing to renovate means you won’t have to hunt for land and it will save you money on the cost of buying new land. •• Statutory warranties. You have the peace of mind that your home is covered by a home warranty insurance scheme or fidelity fund, covering structural defects for six years, and two years for non-structural defects. If you decide to renovate your home, always engage a qualified building designer, design and building company, or architect. A good designer will work with you to ensure your project is functional and blends in with your existing property. If you choose an architect, don’t forget to engage your builder early in the design process. It is imperative that the views of the client, designer and builder all come together to avoid problems down the track.
MASTER BUILDERS ASSOCIATION OF THE ACT
/ Acquiring Land in the ACT Finding suitable, affordable and well located land ready for building can occur in a variety of ways. The ACT Government-owned Suburban Land Agency (SLA) develops and sells most of the land in the ACT. Information about land available for purchase from the SLA can be found on their web site at suburbanland.act.gov.au The ACT Government is also selling the remediated blocks from the Loose Fill Asbestos Eradication Scheme (former Mr Fluffy blocks). The blocks are for available for purchase across Tuggeranong, Weston Creek, Woden, Belconnen, the Inner North and the Inner South. Further information about land sales from the SLA is available at suburbanland.act.gov.au Land is also being developed in the ACT and surrounding regions by private developers or in joint venture with the SLA. Information about current projects is provided at right:
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/ Arranging finance Financing a new home build or extension project can be achieved in a number of different ways, depending on your financial capacity and the size of your project. The starting point is to develop a realistic or an achievable budget. Discuss the items that will be included in the building contract with your builder. Make sure this discussion includes any preliminary costs, such as soil tests, preparation of plans, building approvals and consultant fees. There might be items not covered by the builder including landscaping, blinds and curtains, or floor coverings. It is important to also understand which costs are fixed and which costs may be variable. If buying new land, make sure you consider any government fees, stamp duty, and conveyancing costs. Be clear on any other costs such as rent payments while your new home is under construction and moving costs. It is also a good idea to include a contingency or reserve in your budget for any unforeseen items or cost variations that may be requested or occur during the building process. Once you have a budget in mind and obtained finance approval or preliminary approval, it is time to start designing your new house or renovation project.
/ Designing your home The Design is the single most important element in establishing a new house or addition to an existing house. The design process need not be complex and requires a thorough understanding of planning issues, the construction process, how best to maximise any unique aspect that the building block/or existing house has, and your individual needs and wishes. Engaging a qualified architect, design and building company or building designer that is a Master Builders member will ensure these issues are all taken into consideration. It will also help if you engage a professional who specialises in the type of project you are proposing, for example, project home, custom home, extension, remodelling, or renovation. The architect or designer will usually prepare an initial design concept plans. This is usually a rough outline sketch showing the approximate location of rooms, windows, views and internal circulation. Your designer will then discuss this concept with you and work with you until agreement is reached on the basic layout. Once you are satisfied, this design is developed in more detail to show furniture locations, building materials, architectural detailing, structural detailing etc. When you are satisfied with the design concept, it is time for the preparation of the working drawings and specifications. These documents are very important. First of all, they allow all builders who are tendering on your house to quote for exactly the same thing. If the documents don’t have enough detail or are unclear, different builders will quote on differing things and you will be unable to accurately compare your builders’ quotations. The second reason that the working drawings and specification are important is that they form part of your contract with your chosen builder. When considering where you should go to have your new house designed, it is important to understand who owns the copyright. Copyright of a design rests with the person who created it. Thus, if your builder prepares your plans, your builder owns the copyright. You are not permitted to use the design with another builder unless the design (plans) are purchased from the designing builder. Remember, also, that nothing is free. Good design takes time and requires investment. It will cost more to have a house individually designed than it will to adopt an ‘off the shelf’ design or a ‘cheap set of plans’. However, the benefits of a good individual design will repay themselves many times over during the life of the house. The advantages of having a house individually designed for your building site, for you and your family tailored to the way you want to live cannot be underestimated. The cost of having your new house individually designed is money well spent however it’s important to remember to design a project that will fit your budget. Once you have finalised the detail design and prepared working drawings and specifications it is time to get building quotes from your preferred builders.
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/ Sustainability Sustainability is an important consideration when designing a new home or renovation project. Factors including the amount and type of vegetation to be cleared or retained, solar orientation, energy efficiency, method of heating and cooling, and choice of building materials can all impact the environmental impact of your home, its construction cost and ongoing operating costs. While energy efficiency standards exist in the Building Code of Australia, these are only minimum standards. A range of other ideas could be incorporated to make your new house or renovation project more sustainable. It is recommended that you discuss the many factors that affect the sustainability of your project with your Master Builder, building designer or architect early in the design process.
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/ DIY and owner builders You might be tempted to perform “do-it-yourself” renovations to save some money, maintain greater control over the project, or just for the satisfaction of completing the project yourself. Before you commit to a DIY renovation, think carefully, as there are a number of pitfalls for the inexperienced. Master Builders recommends you always use a suitably licensed, qualified and experienced building professional for any building work.
If you do undertake DIY work as an Owner builder here are a few things to consider: •• Only certain types of work can be completed under an Owner builder permit. You can build or renovate your house or build ancillary structures, such as decks, pergolas or carports (provided the building work is on your main home or ancillary to it). •• You are not able to build or install a swimming pool, demolish a building, handle asbestos or perform work on a commercial building. You are not able to build a secondary residence or dual occupancy unit under an Owner builder licence. •• You can only perform work as an Owner builder on land that you own. •• You will need to apply for an Owner builder license. Further information about how to apply for a license is available at www.planning.act.gov.au. There are minimum qualification requirements that you will need to meet. •• You will still need to obtain Building approval and Development approvals (if necessary).
Finally, if you embark on a DIY project, remember that safety should be your number one priority. Further information about safety on building sites is available from the Access Canberra WorkSafe ACT web site at https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au/app/home#/workhealthandsafety.
MASTER BUILDERS ASSOCIATION OF THE ACT
/ Getting quotes
When selecting a builder, it is important to consider a number of factors. Firstly, selecting a builder with whom you can have a trusting relationship and strong sense of collaboration is a critical factor. Secondly, look at your builder’s track record for an indication of their service and quality. Finally, price is also an important factor.
When shopping around for a quote for your project there are a few things to remember: •• What does the project involve? There might be some builders or tradies who specialise in the works that you are looking to get done. Remember to also check to see if they have the relevant qualifications, such as a builder’s licence. •• Be as specific as possible with your plans and requirements. Getting quotes based on detailed drawings and specifications is best. •• Make sure you give each builder/tradie the same plans and specifications, so that the quotes can be compared equally. •• Don’t necessarily accept the first quote you receive. It is our recommendation that you should always get a least three written quotes to compare. •• Finally, compare the quotes, view previous work or jobs from each builder and, if possible, speak with past clients.
Most importantly, remember the cheapest quote is not always the best option. Choose a builder/tradie who is experienced in delivering your type of project and who you can trust to undertake and deliver the quality of work you want. Choosing the right builder is a big decision that only you can make. Do your research and remember, that there are benefits for building with a Master Builders member. Once you have three quotes and have found a builder, you should now familiarise yourself with your building contract, including your rights and obligations and how the works may change (i.e. variations) before you begin any work.
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/ Contracts & variations For a building project of any size or scale, it is extremely important to have a written contract in place before building works begin. The combination of good communication and a detailed written building contract will provide you the best chance of avoiding disputes during building. If a dispute does arise, the contract will set out with how it may be dealt with.
Common issues that may arise during the process of signing a contract include: •• How costs for preliminary costs will be managed; •• The payment of the deposit and progress payments; •• How prime cost items and provisional sums are dealt with; •• Variations to the scope of works and costs; •• Extensions of time; and •• Managing practical completion and final payment.
We recommend that you discuss each of these issues with your builder before you sign the contract. You may also ask questions of Master Builders ACT or seek legal advice from a solicitor. A contract may be in a number of forms, however to make the process easier, Master Builders has developed a number of industry-standard contracts which are available for purchase by your builder from the Master Builders’ office. A brief description of the contracts sold at the Master Builders office are described below:
Residential Contracts ACT Home Building Contract This is a lump sum contract for residential building work in the ACT. BC4 NSW Home Building Contract Lump sum contract for new houses, major residential renovations or small multi unit developments with no architect supervision. Cost Plus Residential Head contract for work undertaken on a cost plus fixed fee or percentage margin basis. Minor Works ACT This contract is suitable for works where the value of the work is less than or in the region of $50,000. Two copies of this contract must be issued and signed by both parties, one for the contractor and the other for the owner. Building Specifications Standard NSW Housing Specification of construction requirements, including a Schedule of fittings, fixtures and finishes.
Commercial Contracts BC3 Lump sum contract for Commercial/ industrial projects with no architectural administration. PM2 Project Management Contract (ACT) This contract is for a Project Manager who acts in a Management role as an agent of the Principal during more than one Phase of a project (usually design and construction phases) organising and administering the delivery of a project by contracts between the principal and design consultants, construction contractors or trade contractors. CM1 Construction Management Contract For construction management services for use in non- residential building projects. TC/ CM1 Sub Contract Trade Contract Contract between Trade and Contractor and Principle.
CPC Cost Plus Contract NSW Commercial For commercial work undertaken on a cost plus fixed fee or percentage margin. PM2 Project Management Contract (NSW) Contract between project manager and principal for use in non- residential building projects.
MASTER BUILDERS ASSOCIATION OF THE ACT
/ Concrete Myths Busted
When we invest in home improvements, we want to be sure they are going to last. Concrete is a durable and versatile building material with wide-ranging applications, making it the perfect option for home improvement projects including driveways, pathways, entertaining areas, pool surrounds, landscaping, polished concrete flooring and even benchtops. Once considered merely a structural material hidden under other finishes, concrete is now rightly appreciated for not only its inherent strength but natural beauty. With the advances in finishes and the decorative range, concrete adds design gravitas to any area of the home. To make sure there’s nothing stopping you from choosing decorative concrete for your home, we’ve busted some of the most common concrete myths.
Myth #1 – It cracks One of the most common concerns we hear about concrete is that it might crack. It’s important to remember that all solid surfaces have the potential to crack, including tiles and paving, but measures can be taken to prevent concrete cracking.
Holcim Australia has revealed the major causes of cracking are poor site preparation and construction supervision issues – both avoidable factors. Design defects and unfavourable weather conditions can also contribute to concrete instability. As always, prevention is better than cure. The Geostone Best Practice Placement Guide at www.geostone.com.au provides helpful advice for consumers and their concrete installers on the best methods to prevent cracks in concrete.
Myth #2 – It’s too slippery Decorative concrete is a popular material for pool decks and pool surrounds and also high in demand is concrete floors for bathrooms and wet areas. Exposed aggregate is ideal for outdoor use, while indoors, polished concrete offers a sleek flooring option, and honed concrete can be used both indoors and out. The exposed aggregate as well as polished and honed concrete finishes from Geostone offer slip-resistant qualities, which make them a safe flooring and underfoot option for the family home. New research shows polished concrete is one of the safest architectural hard surfaces available today. Concrete also provides a flat and stable floor surface, reducing tripping hazards or the risk of tipping furniture. In high traffic areas such as hallways, living rooms, kitchens and indoor/outdoor interfaces, concrete is the one material which can help link and define these zones while withstanding the wear and tear.
Myth #3 – It’s old fashioned A quick search for ‘concrete’ on Pinterest will reveal this building material is considered anything but old. Concrete has experienced a modern-day resurgence as a highly sought-after building material, capable of creating award-winning and awe-inspiring homes and architecture. A look at the most recent Australian Architectural awards will show you how concrete is very much the go-to building material when it comes to cutting edge home design. It suits all Australian environments as its thermal properties keep interiors stable without excess heating or cooling costs. The versatility of concrete means it can be used creatively to suit any style of home. According to leading designers, it’s also a material which complements all other finishes.
Myth #4 – Concrete looks too industrial In case you still need more convincing, let us say one thing. Concrete doesn’t just come in grey anymore. Geostone’s coloured concrete is available in a range of natural and earthy colours giving customers the power of choice when it comes to designing their dream entertaining area and home exteriors. The exposed aggregate as well as polished and honed concrete ranges also feature natural Australian stone, creating a warm and welcoming finish to driveways, pathways, pool surrounds and more.
MASTER BUILDERS ASSOCIATION OF THE ACT
Myth #5 – It requires too much maintenance Concrete is a naturally durable and long lasting hard surface, meaning it requires less maintenance than some other flooring and landscaping options. Low maintenance doesn’t mean no maintenance however, and decorative concrete will look better for longer by following a few simple steps for cleaning and care. Regular sweeping is recommended for exterior concrete surfaces to avoid build-up and potential staining, while indoors a damp mop is sometimes all you need for cleaning decorative concrete. Taking steps to preserve the concrete surface such as waxing polished concrete floors or sealing outdoor concrete can also help to protect your solid long term investment.
Tips on how to capture the contemporary concrete look in your home Go Big: There’s no need to hold back when it comes to contemporary concrete. Whether you’re planning a single, large concrete space or combining several separate features, Geostone’s decorative concrete range is versatile and diverse enough to use without restraint. Embrace Colour: Raw and exposed traditional grey concrete is certainly hot right now but adding colour to the mix is still popular with homeowners wanting a softer style. Geostone’s coloured concrete allows you to customise your concrete to the unique colour scheme of your home and surrounds. Natural Look & Layering: Concrete is ideal for pairing with natural textures and building materials such as stone and timber. Geostone features natural Australian stone sourced from your local region to truly reflect where you live. Polished Concrete: If sophistication is your style, it’s hard to go past the beauty and durability of a polished concrete floor. Speckled with natural Australian stone throughout, Geostone’s polished concrete is a truly beautiful option for flooring and benchtops. Think Outside the Square: Concrete doesn’t have to be restricted to driveways and patios. Check out Geostone’s website for more inspiration at www.geostone.com.au
Should you restore or build a new drive-way As with any landscaping or home improvement project, there is a range of important factors to consider before embarking on your new driveway. Going into your renovation with a defined budget, well thought-out plan and a clear vision of the finished project will make the process much easier and more enjoyable for everyone involved. It is particularly important to communicate this plan clearly with your suppliers and service providers. If you’re installing a driveway as part of a bigger landscaping and renovation project, it is essential to coordinate the timing of the driveway construction with those too.
•• Budget: Budgeting may not be fun, but it is important. By determining a budget at the beginning of a project, and sticking to it, you can avoid spending too much on renovations. •• Timing: You probably don’t want to pour a brand-new concrete driveway right before earthmoving equipment arrives to clear the backyard. If you need landscaping and pathways in other areas of the property, you could potentially save time and money by combining all of the projects together. Weather is also a factor when pouring concrete, so it’s important to consider the best time to renovate your driveway. •• Longevity: When investing in home renovations, you want them to last. This is why you and your service providers should take steps to improve the lifespan of your new driveway, including measures to prevent concrete cracking. •• Value: Whether you’re improving your home for your enjoyment, or preparing to list the house for sale, you’re probably interested in ways to add value to your home. Restoring your driveway using decorative concrete, is one way to increase resale value. •• Colour: Did you know neutral colours are more likely to return higher value when you sell your home? Choosing the best coloured concrete for your home ensures you enjoy your space while you live there and reap the greatest benefits when it comes time to sell. •• Sealing: Not all service providers include outdoor sealer as standard. Thoroughly finishing your decorative concrete including using an outdoor sealer, can help to extend the lifespan of your driveway.
MASTER BUILDERS ASSOCIATION OF THE ACT
/ Approvals & inspections Building approval is required for most developments to ensure the building complies with building laws, including the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and the National Construction Code (NCC). Building approval is usually obtained after a development approval is obtained (if necessary). However, there are some exemptions to development approval and/or building approval. Building approval must be granted before construction begins.
To get a building approval: •• appoint an ACT licensed building surveyor as your certifier; •• apply for building approval and pay the relevant fees (your certifier will inform you of these costs); and •• apply to appoint your builder with the Certifier or become licensed as an owner-builder (there are eligibility restrictions on owner-builder licences).
Before work begins, the person licensed to build needs to apply to your certifier for a commencement notice and you (or your appointed agent) need to sign this application. The building work can start once your certifier has issued the commencement notice, provided work has not been prohibited by law. Most builders will subcontract electricians, plumbers, carpenters, bricklayers and other trades during construction. The builder is required to ensure that any persons engaged are appropriately skilled and, if required, are licensed. Approval for plumbing work may also be required. For some plumbing work, you will need to employ a licensed plumbing plan certifier to approve the plumbing plan. A number of notifications and inspections may need to be made during construction. This helps to ensure the work is carried out to the required standards and legislative requirements. These records along with others must be presented to Access Canberra before you can apply to be issued with a certificate that allows you to have legal occupancy or use of the building.
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YOUR LOCAL HOME RENOVATION SPECIALISTS +30 years experience We’re a team of talented and hard-working tradespeople. We love what we do and it shows in the work we create. Whether you want a brand new kitchen or an upgrade for your bathroom, we’re the people to talk to.
Renovations Extensions, alterations & additions Kitchens Bathrooms Decks, pergolas & outdoor areas Remedial building works We know that talent alone isn’t enough. We’re also reliable, highly professional and our work ethic is second to none. Our knowledge of what works best in the local climate and conditions is also a huge asset. We will complete your job on time and on budget - we know how important that is. So, if you want to start your home renovation project with a team you can trust, call Smith & Sons Tuggeranong today.
After So, you are looking to renovate your home but don’t know where to start? Or, you’ve got some idea on what you would like to achieve, but not sure how to get there? You might even have a full set of plans ready to go, and are looking for the right renovation builder for your home. The great news is – you are in the right place! Smith & Sons' unique Design – Plan – Construct renovation building system caters for wherever you are in your home renovation journey. The DPC system was designed for you and hundreds of people li you who are out there looking for answers and to be guided through the renovation process. like The Design phase is really a creative journey ﬁnding out all about you – and what you want in your renovation. It’s a very exciting time where you get to unleash your creativity and ideas onto paper so we can help you form a clear and concise picture of what your renovation needs to entail. With planning – we get technical. We take all your ideas that were mapped out originally and ensure that each of them are physically possible to do by passing them onto engineers who diligently assess every detail of the physical build, to ensure a strong, safe and compliant construction process. The day is ﬁnally here! Our builder arrives on site, tradespeople start buzzing around and soon your renovation project is in full swing! Each part of the renovation process has been planned as is now translated to action as your home begins to be transformed. (02) 6296 6267 email@example.com www.smith-sons.com.au
/ During construction Once you have signed the building contract and all necessary building and plumbing approvals are in place, construction is ready to begin. To ensure the construction stage runs smoothly there are a few important things to remember:
Construction sites can be dangerous places and everyone needs to play their part to ensure your construction site remains safe. During the construction stage, your builder is responsible for what happens on site and this includes who can access the site. Never enter a construction site unattended. Always ask permission from your builder before entering. At certain times, the builder may prevent you from accessing the site (such as when equipment or materials are being delivered or moved).
Communication is the key to a successful building project and avoiding disputes. Make sure you stay in regular contact with your builder to check on progress and to ask any questions. If you have questions about subcontractors or suppliers, make sure these questions are directed to your builder, who will liaise with other parties on your behalf.
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QUEANBEYAN 6297 3325 SOUTH CANBERRA 6297 3385 NORTH CANBERRA 6241 3917 BUNGENDORE 6238 1875 Member
MASTER BUILDERS ASSOCIATION OF THE ACT
Variations Sometimes you may want to make changes to design or materials during the construction. If you want to make a variation (either an addition or reduction in the scope of value of work), discuss this with your builder early and always make sure the variation is agreed in writing before the work commences.
Experienced and Insightful Geotechnical Consultants
Providing clients with a comprehensive range of geotechnical engineering services
Payments Payments for building work are usually staged throughout the building process in accordance with a schedule set-out in the building contract. Payments for agreed variations may be required before the variation work commences. Please read and understand your payment obligations before you sign the contract.
Jeremy Murray M 0404 064 858 | P (02) 6285 1547 firstname.lastname@example.org www.actgeoeng.com.au 5/9 Beaconsfield Street. Fyshwick, ACT 2609
O CONNOR HARRIS Barristers & Solicitors
Since 1982 our firm has supported the legal needs of the people of Canberra and its business community BUILDING LAW CONVEYANCING FAMILY LAW REGULATORY PROSECUTIONS COMMERCIAL LITIGATION WILLS & PROBATE For legal advice please call us on:
(02) 6247 6077 Email: email@example.com
Visit our offices: Level 6, 161 London Circuit, CANBERRA CITY
/ Avoiding disputes Unfortunately, sometimes problems arise during the building process, but many problems are avoidable. Use these tips to avoid and resolve disputes:
Tips for avoiding disputes
Tips for resolving disputes
•• Maintain good communication with your builder throughout the building process.
•• If you think a dispute is arising, talk to your builder. Disputes are easier to resolve when they are still small and before they grow into large disputes.
•• Make sure you have a written contract and ensure all variations are agreed in writing before work commences. •• Read and understand your building contract. If you are unsure about any aspect of the contract ask your builder, Master Builders ACT (for MBA contracts) or a solicitor, before you sign the contract.
•• Refer to your contract. The MBA building contracts contain a dispute resolution clause which should be followed to resolve disputes. •• Master Builders ACT may help resolve your dispute with a Master Builders ACT member or can advise on Master Builders ACT contracts. •• As a last resort, seek legal advice.
Common Contract Queries What is an easement and why do I need to tell my builder about this? An easement is the right to cross or otherwise use someone else’s land for a specified purpose. This might be a sewerage line, an electricity pole or even a shared driveway. You need to tell your builder about this so that they can ensure that they do not build over or affect an easement located on the property. It has been raining but my builder doesn’t seem to be working. Can they do this? Yes. The builder may not be able to work when it has been raining as it might have an effect on the progress of the building work and/or could pose a health and safety risk to those working in such conditions. Your builder is obliged to notify you in writing of the extension of time to be claimed as a result of the delay. I want to change some of the fixtures/fitting. Can I do this? Yes, you can but it is recommended that you do this as soon as possible prior to these fittings/fixtures either being ordered or installed. This would be done by way of a written variation to the contract and where there is an increase in the cost of the new product selected, you will be responsible for the payment of the additional costs in accordance with the contract. What’s the difference between a prime cost and provisional sum item? A prime cost item is an item (such as a fitting or fixture) that has either not been selected or the amount of the specified item is not known at the time of signing the contract. The allowance provided generally does not include installation and is for the supply of the item only. Examples of a prime cost item may include but are not limited to door handles, taps, tiles, etc. A provisional sum item is an estimate of the cost of carrying out particular work which includes the cost of the supply and fixing of materials. An allowance will usually be provided in the contract to allow for works where the costs cannot be entirely foreseen at the time of signing. Examples of provisional sum items include but are not limited to site excavation, asbestos removal and joinery works.
Do I need to pay the builder if the stage of works being claimed has been completed but I am not happy with the works? The contract provides that the builder can make a progress payment claim when the stage of works being claimed is completed despite any minor omissions or defects that do not prevent the works from progressing to the next stage. If you do not pay, the builder is entitled to charge interest on the overdue amount in accordance with the contract. What is the process for practical completion? The builder is required to serve you with a Notice of Practical Completion. Within 5 days you’re required to respond in writing stating what is required to be done in order for the works to reach practical completion. The builder will then have 14 days to do those things for practical completion to be met. You are required to pay the final payments in accordance with the timeframe specified in Schedule A of the Contract. Can I receive notices by email? Yes. You should ensure that you have provided your email address in the Schedule. Where your email address changes during the course of the building works, you should advise the builder in writing of the updated email address.
Basic timeline of construction works (from contract signing)
Owner to serve notice of those things necessary for PC Owner to satisfy Clause 5
Commencement of works • Date in A9; or • 30 days from date of client satisfying obligations in Cl. 5; or • 15 days of receipt of Commencement notice, Whichever is later
Builder to serve written notice of PC
Period for final payment to be made • once payment made keys and certificate to client
Maintenance Liability Period
Date for Practical Completion • subject to change if EOT claimed, variations etc...
MASTER BUILDERS ASSOCIATION OF THE ACT
Statutory warranties from the date of C of O • 6 years structural • 2 years non-structural
/ Before you move in The period leading up to the completion of the building works can be the most stressful – the final payment to the builder will soon be due, you will be arranging to move in, and will be reviewing the quality of work and any minor defects.
Practical Completion A key point in the building process is referred to as Practical Completion. The Master Builders ACT Home Building Contract defines “Practical Completion” as when the final stage works are complete, except for minor omissions and/or minor defects which do not prevent the works from being reasonably fit for use or occupation. The builder will provide you with a notice stating that Practical Completion has been reached. If you occupy or use any part of the building before you receive this notice, Practical Completion is deemed to have been reached from that time.
A few other important things happen at Practical Completion: •• The final payment to the builder will be due, and when made, you will be presented with your keys, •• You and your builder should agree a list of minor defects and omissions that your builder must attend to as outlined in the Master Builders ACT Home Building Contract, •• You will be responsible for the completed work and you should ensure that your home and contents policy is in effect, and •• The Maintenance Liability Period and statutory warranties period commences.
Maintenance liability period Under the Master Builders ACT Home Building Contract, the Maintenance Liability Period is an opportunity for the home owner to list any minor defects and/or minor omissions in the building. The Maintenance Liability Period starts after the date of Practical Completion and last for 90 calendar days (unless a different time period is prescribed in your building contract).
Statutory warranties Statutory warranties apply by law, irrespective of whether they are contained in the building contract between you and your builder. They require construction to be carried out: •• in compliance with the Building Act 2004 (ACT), •• in a proper manner and in accordance with the approved plans, •• using good and suitable materials, •• with reasonable diligence where no completion date is specified, and •• to ensure it will reasonably meet the requirements expressly made known by the owner. Your building certifier oversees this during notifications and staged inspections. In the ACT, statutory warranties expire: •• for structural work, at the end of six years after the date of the completion of the work or no later than when the Certificate of Occupancy was issued, and •• for non-structural work, at the end of two years after the date of the completion of the work or no later than when the Certificate of Occupancy was issued.
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SERVICES PROVIDED Project Management
A Unit22 155 Gladstone street Fyshwick ACT 2609
M 0403 460 552
MASTER BUILDERS ASSOCIATION OF THE ACT
/ Non-conforming products It is not safe to assume that because a product is for sale in Australia it is suitable for building work. If you are in doubt about any product, your best recourse is to speak to a Master Builder who will be able to undertake your project in a safe way and put your mind at ease. Builders or trade contractors who are Master Builders members receive regular updates and training on what is going on in the industry so they are better equipped to deal with the situation and manage the risks. They are likely to have long-term relationships with suppliers, allowing for recourse should something go wrong. Non-conforming products can be found across all areas of construction, from steel, copper and electrical products to glass, aluminum and engineered wood – from the roof down to the bolts and screws. Your builder or trade contractor will ensure all the products and materials they use meet the requirements of the National Construction Code (NCC). Retailers do not need to meet the requirements of the NCC so you cannot assume that because something is for sale, even with a large Australian retailer, that it meets the requirements of the NCC. You will need a building professional to check. If you choose to source products yourself you will have no recourse with your builder under Australian Consumer Law should it fail. Instead, you will need to take it up directly with the supplier yourself. However as your builder or trade contractor will still have a responsibility under the NCC, they are likely to ask you to provide ‘evidence of suitability.’ This will include a: •• Report issued by a registered testing authority (registered with NATA or an authority recognised by NATA) •• Current ‘Certificate of Conformity’ issued under CodeMark or a WaterMark certification mark •• Certificate from an engineer or other appropriately qualified person •• Current certificate issue by a product certification body that has been accredited by JAS-ANZ •• Other documentary evidence. Be careful to check that the documentation provided is both current and genuine: •• Counterfeits and fraud are rife so be alert to false documentation. •• Standards change and quality varies so check that the evidence is current and directly relates to the product being supplied and to where or how it is going to be used. For further information, refer to the Procurement of Construction Products: A guide to achieving compliance produced by the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council.
/ Asbestos The word asbestos rings alarm bells with many people and many of us still have trouble sorting the myths from the facts about this potentially dangerous substance. One problem is that many people don’t believe they have asbestos in their homes when, in fact, you’ll find it in almost every house that was built before 1985. In the ACT, unless you live in a newer area, such as Gungahlin or Southern Tuggeranong, it is likely that your home may contain asbestos. Asbestos is usually located in eaves or in wet areas like laundries and bathrooms in the form of asbestos cement sheeting (fibro) but may also be contained in floor tiles and pipe lagging. According to the experts, when materials that contain asbestos are in good condition and left undisturbed, they do not pose a risk to your health. In fact, if you live in a house that contains asbestos, you won’t necessarily be exposed to more asbestos fibres than people who live in homes that are totally asbestos-free. It’s that word ‘undisturbed’ that makes the difference. When you’re doing home repairs or renovations you need to be aware that this might disturb asbestos fibres. It is now illegal for any DIY renovators and trades people to handle or disturb any Material Containing Asbestos (MCA). Only Licensed Asbestos Removalists that have had approved training in asbestos removal, are legally allowed to handle or remove MCAs. Asbestos fibres in bonded or loose MCA products once released through disturbance can be inhaled. In some people, this can lead to asbestos-related diseases. The chart below tells you where you’re likely to find asbestos in ACT homes. Tips for managing asbestos •• Find out what year your house was built and assess the chance of your home having asbestos. Visually check to see where it might be and make sure any materials are in good condition, not cracked or broken. If you’re not sure whether a material contains asbestos, it’s safest to treat it as if it does. •• If you plan to undertake repairs or renovations that involve disturbing or removing materials containing asbestos –it’s important you take proper precautions. Do not disturb any material containing asbestos. For smaller jobs, like painting, make sure you download the DIY Fact Sheets from the asbestos website – www.asbestos.act.gov.au. If it’s a tradesperson or handyman you employ, make sure they are trained and qualified to handle asbestos. Otherwise, for the bigger jobs like bathroom renovations and home extensions, engage an appropriately licensed asbestos removalist to remove MCAs. •• If you’re not intending to renovate, keep an eye on any materials containing asbestos to make sure they remain in good condition. Mr Fluffy Asbestos In the ACT 1,022 properties are affected by Mr Fluffy loose fill asbestos. The ACT government is currently in the process of demolishing affected properties. The cleared blocks will be progressively sold for new development. A range of information is available about the Mr Fluffy program at http://www.asbestostaskforce.act.gov.au. Common locations of materials containing asbestos in ACT homes* Pre 1965
1965 - 1979
1980 - 1984
1985 - present
(Percentage (%) of properties sampled where asbestos was detected) *Results of 2005 Asbestos Survey of over 600 ACT Homes. #One MCA was found in a 1985 house supporting roof tiles on a gable end.
MASTER BUILDERS ASSOCIATION OF THE ACT
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/ Home maintenance & repair A new home is one of the most important financial investments made in a lifetime and a regular home maintenance program will help to ensure it is kept in its best condition.
Who is responsible for maintenance? Once you have moved into your home, it is important to understand your obligations to perform maintenance, and your builder’s obligations to fix up any building defects (not caused by lack of maintenance). The building works will be covered by a statutory warranty period as prescribed in the legislation. Under this warranty your builder is responsible for fixing both structural building defects for a period of six years starting from the completion of the work or no later than when the date of the Certificate of Occupancy was issued, or two years for defective non-structural work. However, your builder is not responsible for maintenance work, or problems that occur as a result of a lack of maintenance.
Maintenance tips Maintenance may take the form of cleaning, preventative maintenance, corrective maintenance or replacement. Here are some tips to ensure proper building maintenance: Cleaning This is the simplest form of maintenance. Besides giving a bright appearance, cleaning can prevent build-up of moulds and can stop moisture being trapped which can cause rust or rot. You should check such things as: •• clean guttering as necessary to remove leaves, mud and other foreign matters, •• remove rubbish accumulating close to walls, •• check that petrol and other flammable liquids are stored in a well ventilated area as far from the main portion of the house as possible, out of reach of children and pets and away from electric motors, •• clean aluminum window and door frames, •• clean insect screens, check for damage and replace mesh if necessary, and •• check for any increase in bushfire hazard through growth or accumulation of rubbish and remove the hazard.
A defect can occur with respect to materials and/ or workmanship during construction works and is different to ‘fair wear and tear’ which can sometimes occur. To determine whether works are defective, the BCA and/or a manufacturer’s installation instructions might be considered. Remember that there are also standards and tolerances which may apply. If you notice a defect, you should bring this to the attention of your builder.
MASTER BUILDERS ASSOCIATION OF THE ACT
Preventative Maintenance Regular repainting of timber, sealing of joints, keeping vents and pipes clear, etc. can prevent damage occurring. You should: •• make sure that exterior underfloor vents are not covered or clogged up, •• check underfloor ventilation and for pests in the underfloor spaces, •• check that water drains and sumps are clear at regular intervals and after heavy rain, and •• check and repair air-conditioning and heating equipment. Corrective Maintenance Early attention to repairs can prevent more serious damage. These items should be fixed early: •• repair and/or paint outdoor timber and structures, •• check for leaking taps and replace washers immediately, •• have inside painting and decorating undertaken when required, •• in bushfire hazard areas check that your garden hose is sound and remains connected to the tap nearest the most obvious hazard — in hazardous areas you should keep a few buckets of sand and water handy, •• check underfloor ventilation and for pests in the underfloor spaces and check for leaking plumbing, and •• check roof tiling and pointing to ridge tiles are intact. Replacement When an item has reached the end of its economic life span or it has not been maintained it must be replaced. This can be expensive. •• for exterior paint work — repainting is likely every 4 to 6 years for example, and •• rotten timbers that are structural members because of moisture problems will need to be replaced by a licensed builder.
Common problem areas The following lists some of the common problem areas experienced in both new and older homes which may require some maintenance or attention. Condensation Condensation is at its maximum in new homes. When homes are built many gallons of water go into materials such as concrete, plaster, wallpaper, tile work and even some types of paint. This water evaporates, which explains the reason for a higher moisture content than usual in new homes. Occupant behaviour is also a factor and humans also expel moisture when exhaling although the use of clothes dryers and long hot showers will also increase moisture in the dwelling. To aid the drying out process it is important to ensure that adequate ventilation is provided during the initial occupancy of the house. Do not try to speed up the process by excessive heating in winter as this will only tend to create uneven drying which will exaggerate normal shrinkage. Here are some tips for controlling condensation: •• open windows in laundry area while washing and drying clothes; •• provide an exhaust fan in kitchen, bath and laundry areas, or open windows after baths or showers if no exhaust fan is provided; •• maintain proper drainage around the house to keep moisture from rising in the house; •• provide a vent for equipment such as clothes dryers. Re-Flooring In an older home, due to insufficient air circulation, the original flooring may have deteriorated or become damaged by “dry rot”. This will mean that the floor will have to be replaced and precautions taken to ensure that such damage does not recur. Termites and Pest Control At the same time as you regularly inspect the underfloor space of your house, look for any signs of termites or other insect or rodent pests. Look at the sides of footings and walls for the earthen tubes which termites build or for signs of winged insects. In some areas spiders may multiply rapidly in underfloor locations if there is adequate food supply, and rats and mice may seek dry shelter here too, if they can readily gain access. The ACT building laws require termite protection for all houses constructed in the ACT. The protection measures are designed to enable any termite activity to be easily seen by the owner without the termites coming in contact with internal structural timber. Regular inspections post-occupation should be made of the perimeter of the building to ensure termites do not enter up the face of the slab into weep holes or other openings close to the ground and every 6 months in timber sub-floor areas.
MASTER BUILDERS ASSOCIATION OF THE ACT
Moisture Penetration of Walls Dampness on internal walls may be caused by: •• condensation (kitchen, laundry, bathroom — improve ventilation by opening external doors or windows); •• water ingress from above; •• penetration across the wall cavity (accidental bridging of the cavity by mortar droppings or by an incorrectly installed wall tile or inadequate flashing around a window or door — difficult to rectify without skilled assistance, so consult a builder); •• rising damp (absence of a damp course in masonry houses or bridging of a damp course by a water absorbent material, build-up of a path or garden adjacent to the wall — visually check at least once a year, preferably when the moisture is visible on the internal wall). In bathrooms where plaster linings have been used as fixing surfaces for tiles, check to ensure that a breakdown in the sheet is not occurring due to moisture penetration adjacent to the bath or shower recess. Where a shower screen is adjacent to a door frame check that the joint between the screen and the wall adjacent to the architrave is remaining waterproof, as the moisture can cause dry rot in the timber, even under paintwork. Efflorescence on Masonry The leaching of white deposits on the surfaces of brickwork, blockwork, paving and tiling is called efflorescence and it is a common problem particularly in high rainfall areas. Efflorescence is caused by the presence of water-soluble salts which occur naturally in masonry (such as clay bricks), but most predominantly it is caused by free lime within cement. The salts are carried by water to the surface as hydroxides. Once on the surface, the hydroxides react with carbon dioxide in the air and carbonate salts are formed (i.e. Limestone). If water is prevented from penetrating masonry, then efflorescence cannot occur. With minimalist trends in contemporary architecture, keeping water out can be very difficult, but with smart design and careful product selection efflorescence can be avoided. Stopping efflorescence retrospectively can be more difficult. If tackled before carbonation occurs, its removal is relatively simple, often just scrubbing with a stiff dry brush over the surface. If the deposit proves hard to remove, scraping away the bulk of the deposit is the first step. The surface should then be watered down thoroughly (to prevent the penetration of acid into the masonry) and a solution of Hydrochloric acid, Phosphoric acid or Sulfamic acid may be used on the efflorescence. Certain surfaces such as (but not limited to) stone, can be damaged with acid cleaning. Research and a small site test is always recommended. Upon completion, acid should be thoroughly rinsed and neutralised. Once clean, the use of a hydrophobic sealer can prevent reoccurrence.
/ Home Warranty Insurance / Fidelity Fund Cover When cover is needed It is a requirement under the Building Act 2004 (ACT) that a licensed builder must take out residential building work insurance (also referred to as home warranty insurance) or a Fidelity Fund certificate on behalf of the lessee from an approved Fidelity Fund scheme or insurer before commencing any building work over $12,000. There are some exemptions provided and if youâ€™re not sure, have a chat with your builder. Fidelity Fund certificates or Home Warranty policies are required for construction of a class 1 building or class 2 building (town house, units, apartments) up to 3 storeys in height, and certain alterations or additions to an existing residence where the work is valued at $12,000 and is structural in nature. Fidelity Fund certificates or Home Warranty policies are not required for class 10 structures such as swimming pools, fences, landscaping, mail boxes or garages (unless structurally adjunct to the class 1 structure). The appointed Building Certifier may assist if you are unsure about these requirements. Certificates are also not required for Federal or Government projects or Owner Builder projects.
When can a claim be made? A claim may be made for incomplete building work due to the builderâ€™s insolvency, disappearance or death, during the contract period. A claim may also be made for defects that come to light after completion of the project in the Statutory Warranty period if the builder is deceased, has disappeared or has suffered an insolvency event. The legislation provides that a Fidelity Fund certificate or Home Warranty Insurance policy provides maximum coverage of $85,000. A Fidelity Fund certificate requires a claim to be made within 90 days of you becoming aware of the defect. The Master Builders Association offers Fidelity Fund certificates through the MBA Fidelity Fund. Information about obtaining a certificate can be found at www.mba.org.au/consumer-advice/home-warranty-insurance/
MASTER BUILDERS ASSOCIATION OF THE ACT
Peace of mind. The Master Builders Fidelity Fund was established in 2002 to protect the interests of both consumers and builders in the ACT. For Builders, the Master Builders Fidelity Fund provides financial certainty as money held by the Fund remains in the ACT. It is securely invested and used for the betterment of the ACT builders and consumers and is therefore not subjected to the vagaries of international markets and events. The Fidelity Fund issues Fidelity Certificates which provide consumer protection for owners of new homes and those making significant changes to homes. The Certificates protect the owner during construction and for up to six years from the date of practical completion. Master Builders members receive reduced premium rates and we also offer special discounts for volume users of the Fidelity Fund. For more information contact the Master Builders Fidelity Fund. Go online and find the cover that is right for you. www.mba.org.au/consumer-advice/home-warranty-insurance
Master Builders Fidelity Fund 1 Iron Knob St, Fyshwick ACT 2609 PO Box 1211, Fyshwick ACT 2609 Tel: (02) 6175 5995 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.mba.org.au
Sample Building Schedule WEEK
Geotech/Wastewater/Engineer Reports Arrange Services/Arrange Subbies Order Materials Erosion & Sediment Control-Setout Clear Site - Survey Setout Excavation/Footings/Drains/Septic Tanks Plumber—Water & Gas Pipes Concrete Footings Bricklayer Sub-Floors Plumbing Service Termite Treatment - Penetration/Construction Joints Fit Pipes—Lay Concrete Slab Carpenter—Bearers & Joists Carpenter—Flooring Carpenter—Frames (Steel/Timber) Carpenter—Roof & Fascia Carpenter—Windows Bricklayer—Walls/Termite Treatment - Cavity Gas Pipe/Roof & Gutters/Air Conditioning Carpenter—Decking & Steps Electrician—Wiring/Lighting Design Alarm Wiring,Vacuum Sys, & Intercom Telephone/T.V. Pre-Cable Plumber—Fittings Brick—Cleaner/Insulation—Wall Plaster—Insulation Wet Area Treatment Carpenter—Joiner—Staircases Carpenter—Fix Out Interior Flooring Wall & Floor Tiling Painter Plumber—Gas Fitting—Final Electrician-Final/Insulation/Smoke Alarm Carpets/Floor Coverings
NB. Before deciding to owner build/ renovate read the preceeding pages thoroughly making sure you understand the various statutory requirements. Whilst undertaking a project as an owner builder can result in financial savings, it is important to talk to a member of either the Housing Industry Association or the Master Builders Association and make a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of owner building.
Termite Treatment - Ext Barrier Landscaping/External Concrete Finish Up, Locks/alarms Final Inspection/Solar Inspection Repairs © Copyright Searon Pty Ltd
MASTER BUILDERS ASSOCIATION OF THE ACT
Possible Commencement Actual Working Days Certificates Required Mandatory Inspections
/ Master Builders Building Excellence Awards 2018 House Of The Year Finalists
CUSTOM BUILT HOME MORE THAN 350m2
BROTHER PROJECTS Yarralumla DISPLAY HOME MORE THAN 225m2
CLASSIC CONSTRUCTIONS The Kew, Narrabundah
MASTER BUILDERS ASSOCIATION OF THE ACT
/ Master Builders Building Excellence Awards 2018 House Of The Year Winner
DISPLAY HOME - MORE THAN 225m2
BETTER BUILDING SERVICES, DNA ARCHITECTS AND SUGAR DESIGNS Onyx, Denman Prospect
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