During construction and building completion

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Client access to the building site

Your client (the homeowner or their agent) automatically has rights to visit the building site.

They have these rights even if they sign a contract otherwise (for example, a contract that limits visits to business hours only).

By law, the builder must allow the owner and/or the owner’s agent ‘reasonable access’ to the site during construction (section 19 of the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995).

What is reasonable will depend on the situation. For example:

  • You inform your client on Friday that the foundation stage is complete, and the slab will be poured on Monday.
  • Your client wants a technical advisor to inspect the work.
  • It would be ‘reasonable’ for the client to access the site on the weekend, at least.

The owner should always consult with you about occupational health and safety issues before they enter the site.

If your client or their agent interferes with the carrying out of building works on the site, you will not be responsible for any costs or delays resulting from their actions.

However, you must notify the client within five business days, in writing, of the cost or delay caused by their actions.

When is home building work complete?

The works are complete when:

  • the building surveyor has issued the Certificate of Final Inspection and/or Occupancy Permit, and
  • you have completed all works according to the contract plans and specifications.

Your client may engage an independent building consultant to advise them during the contract period. You must allow the consultant reasonable access to the building site.

By law, your client has a right to copies of any report, notice, order or other document related to their building project that you receive from:

  • any public statutory authority
  • utilities such as gas, electricity, telephone, water and sewerage
  • the relevant building surveyor appointed to issue the permit, or the council municipal building surveyor.

You must supply copies of these documents as soon as you can after receiving them.

When work is complete, make sure they also get copies of the:

  • Certificate of Final Inspection (for extension/renovations)
  • Occupancy Permit (for new homes).

If there are areas of work that are in dispute, follow the steps on Resolving building disputes.