Building your own home can be exciting, but a lot of first-timers go into the construction process blind.
Every construction process is unique and depends on the scope and complexity of the project. But each time a sustainable house is built, the process follows typical steps, and the principles are similar for smaller-scale projects like renovations.
The Renovations and additions and Buying a home off the plan articles include more information on the construction process specific to those situations. Check out our extensive range of home designs at Hitch Constructions.
The Stages of Building a House in Australia
It’s the beginning of a new and exciting chapter of your life. To make the process as thrilling – and hassle-free – as possible, it’s worth familiarising yourself with the eight stages of building a house in Australia. That way, you can know what to expect and be prepared for any obstacles that may crop up.
Before commencing any home construction work, paperwork and legal documents must be organised. To do so, you will need to undertake a few meetings with your builder to iron out the details of your final home design (including your inclusions, colours and material style selections), land suitability, and floor plan options. Structural changes will add to your timelines and will likely be assessed individually. Still, your builder will be able to provide you timeframes on this process, so contact your relative Salesperson or allocated Customer Service Administrator for more information.
Once you’ve settled the legalities and signed the final contract, your builder will work to get approvals for the start of construction. If approved, all you need to do is pay the first scheduled Housing Industry Associated (HIA)-prescribed deposit of 5% from your financial institution, and your brand new home will soon be underway.
Finding the right home constructions company Melbourne is an important decision. Check out our range of the best home design constructions at Hitch Property Constructions.
Build Stage 1 – Base
Although it might not look at it, the base stage is the most important stage of your build. After all, it is this stage that forms the foundation for everything else to be built upon. Once a building has begun, it is very difficult to alter the base!
The base stage includes the following :
A good first indication that work is going to begin imminently is when a temporary fence is erected around your site. This is a safety requirement for all types of work, and the fence must be secured – with no gaps – at all times. Responsibility for maintaining this fence is your builders.
To service the builders onsite, a portable chemical toilet will be delivered. This is usually located near the front of your block, just inside the temporary fencing. These toilets are the same kind you’ll find at festivals, so if you’re claustrophobic you might want to wait until you’re home!
For groundwork to commence, your site needs to be cleared. It’s not uncommon for builders to charge extra if your site is littered with rubbish/debris. However, most will advise you in advance if this is required, while a small percentage of builders will factor site clearance/rubbish removal into their quote.
The excavation stage of the building will see your site levelled, topsoil removed, and the site ready for drainage to be channelled and installed. Most builders will only clear and excavate within the building envelope, the area designated to build upon and nothing else. If you require more groundwork, this is done at cost.
Drainage & Pipe Work
Once your site is levelled and cleared, the plumbing contractor will dig trenches, lay & connect all underground drainage/plumbing pipework, and backfill the trenches. The end result will be a level lot with a series of vertical pipes visible from the ground.
Cut & Fill
Once the plumbing contractors have completed their stage of the job, an excavator will be brought onsite to create a rough outline of the foundation footprint. After this is done, your lot will be ready for slab construction.
Completed by a qualified surveyor or the concrete slab contractor, the peg out phase sees multiple reference pegs put into the ground and connected with a luminous string. This network of pegs forms the outline of where the foundation will be laid.
Stilt Barriers are often installed along the perimeter of your site to ensure any site water runoff doesn’t enter into neighbouring properties, plots or onto public footpaths & drains.
With the slab construction yet to commence, an electrical contractor will attend the site to install your meter box. For the interim, your meter box will be installed on a pole in the position that will later become one of your walls. During this time, the electrician will also connect your site to the mains power supply.
Not a must for every site, but a necessity for sites that are elevated or have a large step to the neighbouring site. This retaining wall will only be installed if there is a chance that your site could slip or merge with the neighbouring site.
This is an exciting stage. First, a concrete slab contractor will assemble a wooden frame around the pegged outline of your property, before lining it with black PVC plastic. Most slabs are not solid all the way through, so it’s common for them to install filler material, such as polystyrene blocks, which is then covered with a mesh of reinforcing bars, suspended by plastic risers.
Lastly, the concrete is poured and levelled to the specifications provided by the builder. Once complete and dried your slab is complete – ready for building to commence!
Build Stage 2 – The Frame
After the slab has been laid, the most notable sign that your build is progressing is the frame. A frame for an average, single-story home takes approximately one day to be completed. For a two-story home, the build time is more like two- to five days, depending on the complexity of the build.
The following are normally included as part of the Frame Stage :
All external & internal frames for walls.
Frame walls are a series of upright beams, joined together by noggins (smaller pieces of wood), to form a sturdy frame for either the external wrapping or internal plasterboards to be fixed to. These frame walls also form an area for windows and doors to be fixed to.
Installation of all windows & doors.
Once the frame walls have gone up, your windows and doors are then able to be installed. This usually happens during or shortly after the framing stage. In some cases, builders will install temporary doors in preparation for Stage 3.
Electrical box fixed in place.
At this stage, the electrical fuse box that was fixed to the pole during the concrete slab prep stage is now incorporated into the frame of your home.
Floor joists (if double story)
Building a double story? If so, you’ll notice the upstairs floor joists will have been installed. Your second level frame will be constructed on top of this series of upright structures.
Got cladding? It’s at this stage your wooden cladding will be installed.
Floor boarding (If double story)
If you’re building a double story dwelling, the second story’s floorboards – which are generally chipboard – will be laid on top of the floor joists and securely nailed into place.
Build Stage 3 – Lock-Up
Lock up is the stage that most owners start to get excited. They get excited because they can see what looks like a close to complete home; however, the build is only half complete!
At this stage, you can expect the following to have been completed:
Building wrap, which is a special type of reinforced paper, is used to protect the building. Known to the trades as sisalation paper or Sarking, building wrap often has a reflective surface and thermal properties.
Windows (if not part of Stage 2) are attached to the frame.
It’s at this stage the roof, along with any flashing, gullies, tiles, tin and insulation, will be installed. Oftentimes if no issues are encountered, or if the roof isn’t oversized, this job is completed within one day.
From here, the brickwork, cement sheets, blocks or insulation system is installed. While some builders will also include the render or render base coat, others will not so it’s worth confirming this with your builder.
Facia boards and soffit boards (for homes with eves) are fitted. The purpose of these boards is purely aesthetic, providing a neat appearance for any overhanging or exposed elements in the design of the house.
Part of the roof, it’s likely that gutters will be installed at this stage too. However, the downpipes that connect your roof gutter to the drain will usually be left until later in the build. Any builder worth their salt will install temporary plastic bags to avoid water pooling which can cause damage to the site.
Although external doors are able to be installed at this stage, it’s more likely the builder will opt to install temporary ones. This will prevent your costly, decorative doors incurring any potential damage. Rest assured that the temporary doors will be replaced with your decorative doors prior to final inspection.
If you’ve chosen brickwork veneer or a rendered finish for your home, it’s likely that this will also be completed at this stage. Of course, this depends on your builder.
Build Stage 4 – Fixing
The is where it all starts to come together and look like the designs and rendered images you saw on the plans. All the fears and stress from walking over the initial slab and through the frame wondering is the sizes were correct will be alleviated during the fixing stage.
Here’s what you can expect:
Although you may not be able to see it because it’s installed before plasterboarding the ceiling & walls, it is this stage your roof & wall insulation is being installed.
Plastering covers three areas: ceilings, walls, and cornices (if purchased). Depending on the size of the job and the experience of the plasterboard team, a single home generally takes one to two days to complete. A double story home can often be completed within a week. Once the plasterboards are in place, and the joints are covered over, your walls and ceilings are ready to be painted.
Air conditioning / Ducted Heating
If you’ve chosen heating or ducted air-conditioning, these units are usually mounted in the roof space. In some cases, units will be installed before the ceiling plasterboards are in place. However, most builders opt to install them later in the build to reduce the chance of theft.
It’s important that all wet areas such as bathrooms, toilets, washrooms and laundries are waterproofed prior to tiles being laid. This stage is normally completed by a specialised contractor who will identify and waterproof any areas prone to large volumes of water.
Carpentry is completed in two stages. The initial stage includes the installation of kitchen cupboards, bathroom vanities, skirting boards, architraves and internal window sills. The second and final stage comprises expensive, damage-prone items such as internal doors and countertops.
Similar to the carpentry, the plumbing phase is also completed in two stages. The initial stage includes items like baths, sinks, shower trays and laundry troughs. The latter stage includes taps, showerheads and toilet bowls as these items should be installed after the tiling to protect them from damage.
Before the plastering stage, your electrician will “rough in” any required electrical components. This will see TV/Telephone/Data cables run to the fuse box but not connected for obvious safety reasons.
If brickwork & rendering has not been completed in the previous stage, it will be completed at this stage.
Garages and Carports
If your design includes a garage or carport, it will be completed at this stage – along with any other freestanding garage/structure. It’s worth noting that garage doors may not be installed until a later stage.
Build Stage 5 – Completion
As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” so it’s important to keep perspective on just how much work goes into building a home. It might feel like forever, but your patience will pay dividends while you wait for the remaining tradespeople to complete the following work.
As you would expect, items like showerheads, taps, mixers, shower screens, toilets, outside taps, and water storage & heaters are installed and fully tested by your licensed plumber.
At this stage, the painters will paint all external and internal walls. It’s worth noting that walls and ceilings are usually sprayed with two coats of paint as a minimum. The last phase of the painting will be the skirting boards, doors and other woodwork.
In the final fix, you electricians will install all power points, light fittings, phone & data points, as well as any ‘smart home’ items if applicable.
The final fix will also include all remaining carpentry items, such as internal doors, door handles and latches.
Carpets, wood floors, floating floors any flooring that isn’t tiles will be installed at this stage.
Paths & Driveways
If you have requested this from your builder, it will be installed at this stage. However, it’s generally not included unless explicitly stated.
Another good indication that your build is close to completion is that all the excess building materials and rubbish will be removed from both inside and outside your property. Remember this is not so much a clean as it is a general clearance of debris.
Pre Handover Inspection
Your pre-handover inspection is an opportunity to formally identify & record any faults or issues with the build. It’s common practice for builders to leave a two- to three week grace period for remedying any issues. Be pragmatic and thorough during your inspection – this is your final chance to identify & fix any issues prior to moving in!
To avoid damage or theft, appliances such as your oven, hob, dishwasher, air conditioner or any other expensive appliance will be installed on the day of the handover.
Take the keys and enjoy your new home! For more helpful tips post-handover, see our Tips & Tricks and Other Services section.
Post-Construction and Home Assurance
Builders offer a maintenance period between 3-12 months to fix any areas that need work after you settle in. An extended timeframe will allow your home to settle over all four seasons and stand the test of time. Your builder will also likely offer a structural warranty or guarantee anywhere between seven and fifty years that will really give you added peace of mind?
At HP Constructions, we have the best home constructions selection to make your house a dream come true.
Building a home need not be a daunting experience! The construction process can be broken down into straightforward steps to help prepare you for an exciting home building experience. You’re not alone – you have a builder to guide you through every step of the way to help make the journey a rewarding and fulfilling one.