Pre-construction building contracts

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Your builder must obtain a soil report and foundation data to design the footings and to give you an adequate estimate of the cost. To authorise this, they may ask you to sign a pre-construction contract, sometimes referred to as:

  • a preliminary agreement
  • a quote
  • an order 
  • a preliminary contract estimate
  • a provisional quote to build on your land
  • an authorised tender acceptance
  • a contract request.

However, if the pre-construction contract covers more than a soil report, such as design or specification work, obtaining permits or other building work, it is a building contract.

If a contract includes domestic building work and the price is more than $10,000:

  • it is a major domestic building contract (view our Building contracts checklist page)
  • you have rights under the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 and the Australian Consumer Law.

Important note: your builder must give you a copy of the Domestic Building Consumer Guide before you sign a major domestic building contract. For more information, view our Domestic Building Consumer Guide page.

We recommend you get legal and technical advice before you sign, even though it means you no longer have five days to change your mind (cool off). View our Getting out of a building contract checklist page.

If the document includes developing the design or drawing plans and specifications, due to copyright you may not be able to use these if you proceed with a different builder. You also may not get a refund on the cost of developing these plans.

For builders using preliminary agreements, view our Preliminary agreements for home building projects page.