For a lot of New Zealanders the family home is the family’s single most valuable asset, so when building new, the building contract is likely to be the biggest contract they will enter in their lives. Despite this, many choose to sign their building contract without having it reviewed by a lawyer, and surprisingly in some cases, without reading it fully themselves.
Sometimes this will not cause any problems. The build will be completed and the money paid to the satisfaction of both parties. However, more often than not, issues will arise as to what each party believed they had agreed to under the contract. Further to that, building contracts are largely weighted in favour of the builder despite them being labelled as “standard” building contracts. Such building contracts commonly include details that would surprise most home owners.
Below is a brief summary of the four main areas where we see the most complications arise.