1. Why does building seem to take longer than estimated?
At tender stage, cost and time estimates are based on architectural plans only. Inclement weather, goods and materials (availability and delivery), alterations to original plans, default by subcontractors, riots, strikes etc., can affect the construction process and falls outside the control of the builder.
2. What security do I have when I appoint a builder?
The JBCC (Joint Building Contracts Committee) have developed a comprehensive contract in which progress stages, payment structures and guarantees are outlined. It is strongly recommended that a clearly defined contract or Memorandum of Agreement (between the homeowner and the builder) is signed prior to any work being undertaken.
3. Can I report unethical practises?
Yes. NHBRC (National Home Builders Registration Council), MBA (Master Builders Association) and building inspectors can assist where necessary. Developments generally have a Builders’ Panel to which concerns can be addressed. (Please go to the NHBRC & MBA links on our Home Page for further information).
5. Is there a standard contract?
Yes, its called the Principal Building Agreement, prepared by the JBCC (commonly referred to as the JBCC Agreement). It would be very beneficial to make use of this contract as it has been compiled in the best interests and benefits of both parties. It defines the “rules of the game” (Please go to the JBCC link on our Home Page to access further information).
6. How do payment structures work?
The JBCC has a defined structured approach to valuation, certification and payment. Typically a contractor submits a claim for work done (interim payment invoice) to the client who pays or submits to his bank for payment. It is important to note that although the bank may make payment to the contractor, the building agreement is between client and contractor (the bank is a third party). The Client is ultimately responsible for payments, hence the importance of the JBCC agreement and/or the appointment of an agent familiar with the process to ensure payment issues are confined to the rules of the game, and common law.
7. Is it my responsibility to liaise with building inspectors?
Yes to get plans approved and to get occupation certificate (the contractor can assist if required). Once building has started, an inspector will make random site visits and inspections.
8. Is it my responsibility to liaise/comply with municipal by-laws?
Both parties have responsibilities to which they must adhere. For example, it is the owners / architect’s responsibility to set out within building lines and other municipal regulations. All relevant information must be on approved plans.
9. What happens if there is a problem on my site?
Most problems are resolvable and the JBCC agreement clearly defines who is responsible and accountable. For impasse situations, the JBCC caters for dispute resolution which is selected at tender stage, eg; adjudication, arbitration, mediation.