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Building Contracts in Victoria

04 November 2015
By H.Phillips Contracts Manager

If you are considering building works, whether it is a renovation, extension or new home, it is vital that the intentions of both the builder and client are clearly articulated – by law there must be a contract for building work that exceeds $5,000 in value.

Only a registered builder can enter into a domestic building contract for works that exceed $16,000 in value. Once this value is reached there is also a requirement to take out domestic building insurance.

There are instances where you do not need a domestic building contract, usually where the works are for only a single element of a building project – eg plastering. These circumstances are covered in the Victorian Building Authority’s Practice Note 2014-32. In instances such as this it is still important that an agreement as to what is to be done is properly documented in case either party needs to enforce their rights. Email chains are useful in documenting such agreements.

The actual contract can come in many forms, however at Supa Group we use a pro-forma contract prepared by the Housing Industry Association that is specific to renovations, extensions or new homes. The contract when prepared contains the plans along with the specifications of the type of materials to be used and these form part of the contract.

The contract sets out important matters to be considered including:

  • The agreed timeframe for the works
  • The agreed cost of the works
  • Detail of any Prime Cost and/or Provisional sum items included
  • The construction stages and amount payable by the client at each stage
  • A deed of guarantee and indemnity


The HIA contract also sets out and describes practical considerations in terms of the actual construction (e.g. rights to access, when progress claims can be made) and dispute resolution procedures.

Once the contract is signed, if there are to be any changes to the plans and specifications they must be amended by way of a Variation Order. This “VO” sets out what the adjustment to the contract is and the amount payable or refundable that results from the VO.

Signing a building contract is a major financial commitment, so it is important that you are fully informed as to what you are signing, and if necessary you should seek legal advice.

There is a five clear working day cooling off period that allows the client to cancel the contract after it is signed.

Once the paperwork is done the best place for it to be located is in the bottom draw – hopefully it will not need to be referred to again. Building law differs from state to state, so if you’re outside of Victoria the rules might be slightly different.

So if you’re thinking of building whether it’s in Glen Waverley or Glenormiston, Bentleigh or Barnawartha make sure you have the protection that a properly drafted contract offers.

Related Tag: House Extensions Melbourne


  • “The quality of tradesmen Supa Group employ are very good. Our original home was built by a volume builder and doesn't compare to the workmanship displayed by Supa Groups tradesmen.”

    Steve and Anna of Pascoe Vale South
  • “The works commenced in November and as promised the second storey was at lock up well before Christmas.”

    John and Grazie of Box Hill North
  • “Our previous experience of builders has not been great, however we immediately experience a far more professional, friendly and reliable approach.”

    David and Kathryn of Wantirna
  • “A big Thank You for a smooth project throughout all its stages, which did not interfere with our busy household of seven.”

    Naso and Eva of Bulleen
  • “Thank you for working with us over the last year to make our dream of renovating our much loved home a reality.”

    Mark and Catherine of Hampton
  • “Wez and I were very touched by the kind thoughts and flowers we received for our family loss, we warmly thank you so very much...and this is Supa Group!!!”

    Wez and Pina of Rowville
  • “You get results that make you smile every time you come home and open the front door. You get a home that brings you joy.”

    Steve and Jenny of Watsonia
  • “The Design process was like no other we have experienced. We were excited from day one and we are still smiling from ear to ear.”

    Kleanthis and Emma of Oakleigh East
  • “Our building supervisor Braidon Marshall was absolutely fantastic. He was friendly, approachable and accessible when we had a few issues out of hours. We sprung a leak on one rather rainy night, and he came to the rescue after his birthday dinner no less!”

    Danny and Melissa of Coburg
  • “The pleasant demeanor, accommodation of questions and assistance through the process has provide us with a feeling of a priority client. ”

    Peter and Louise of Alphington
  • “What was really impressive was that the building works were completed in an incredible 6 weeks!!!!”

    Chris and Michelle of Camberwell
  • “I highly recommend anyone to consider Supa Group for an extension on their home. I am absolutely delighted we chose Supa Group to make our dreams come true!”

    Tony and Claire
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    Dale and Cristina, Port Melbourne
  • “Supa Group has done a great job capturing our vision with the original ideas and plans we had in mind and the result is better than we would have expected.”

    Con and Daniella, East Keilor
  • “From initial plans right through to the end Supagroup have been polite, professional and super efficient and well organised. Thanks to everyone at Supagroup for helping realise my dreams.”

    Claudia, West Footscray
  • “We have no hesitation in recommending Supa Group and we have already started in our Church community, neighbourhood and Tin's work place.”

    David and Tina, Gladstone Park
  • “We would not hesitate to recommend Supa Group to any family or friends who may consider a house extension.”

    George & Elizabeth, Maidstone
  • “The end result has exceeded my expectations. Not only is the end result stunning but also the manner in which it was achieved was exemplary. I would have no hesitation in recommending Supa Group to others considering extending their homes.. ”

    Jane, Blackburn
  • “...we were looking for a no fuss solution, which would require as little input from us as possible. We certainly found that with the Supa Group. We found you professional and timely right throughout the building phase.”

    Peter and Rose, Taylors Lakes
  • “My family and I would like to thank you for your excellent quality of work done on our second level extension. It's been an exciting six months watching our house turn into the home we were hoping for.”

    Tom and Vicky, Mill Park
  • “We have found the whole experience of a new extension something interesting and exciting and are delighted to recommend Supagroup to our friends and neighbours.”

    Tim and Kathy, Beaconsfield
  • “Every day we look around and are amazed at what has been achieved. ...our journey with Supa Group has been amazing to say the least. ”

    Damian and Anthea
  • “We would not hesitate in recommending Supa Group to others that are thinking of renovating or extending.”

    Maria and Vince