A guide to builder’s jargon

  • First Home Buyers

If you’re new to construction, building a new home can often feel intimidating. And that can be compounded when you don’t understand the words and terms that are coming out of your builder’s mouth!

At Hamlan, we take pride in our open communication. Transparency is one of our “Hamlan Hallmarks”, the defining aspects of our business. We believe that transparency and openness is most important when maintaining the trust of our clients and suppliers, and for open communication to occur we want you to truly understand what we are talking about. Our friendly new home consultants are always on hand to answer any of your questions – no matter how big or small they might be.

Because we believe that by having open and honest communication between client and builder, your building experience will improve ten-fold.

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed when talking about building your dream home and not quite ready to speak to someone, this guide is for you. Here’s our list of common building jargon explained— take a look.

Words and terms explained

Building Envelope

A restriction on the property that only allows construction within the designated parts of the land. The building envelope gives you setbacks from each boundary, for example, 4m from front setback, 3m from rear.

Building Period

This is the building construction time estimated by the builder to carry out the building works, as stated in your contract.

Building Permits

Building permits are documents certifying that a proposed building complies with the relevant building regulations. A building permit is provided by a private or municipal building surveyor. It allows the building work to be undertaken according to the approved plans, specifications and other relevant documentation.

Building Site

The land upon which your home is being built.

Colour selections

The selections you make for your interior and exterior design. For example, the colour of your roof, cladding, paint, tiles, flooring. Your selections are made with the guidance of our colour consultants during your appointment in our Style Studio.

Commencement

The day on which the building works commences on your site.

Completion

The point at which your home has been completed in accordance with the plans and the specifications set out in your contract.

Contract

The document includes the signed contract and conditions, signed specifications, signed plans and an engineer’s design.

Contract Price

Final cost of the overall build as shown in your contract.

Covenants

Items that are listed in the contract of sale that need to be abided by if there isn’t a separate developer approval document.

Design Guidelines

A document containing the restrictions and allowances you need to follow to build a home in the Estate. It’s important to check what design guidelines are in place at the estate you are building in. There are a range of features that might fall under design guidelines. Some estates have sustainability guidelines that take into account elements such as rainwater tanks, star ratings and orientation. The estates may also have guidelines on the number of materials used on your facade or the colour tones you can use. In addition to this, estates can also have different rules around how many of the same facade can be built on the street. It is always worth talking to our new home consultants about design guidelines as they can check what facades have already been approved for the Estate, before you have your heart set on one design.

Easement

A section of land registered on your property title that gives someone the right to use the land for specific purposes even though they are not the owner of land. Usually by council or water companies

Engineering Plan

An approved plan showing the levels of the parcel of land. Such as fall, fill required, drainage, tree placement, retaining walls etc.

Engineer’s Design

A footing or other structural design that has been prepared by a qualified Engineer. An Engineer’s Design includes concrete footings, stumps, piers or slab construction, as well as any part of the building works that requires a structural design, drainage design and computations to accompany the design.

Façade

The front exterior design of a home. Once you have chosen your floorplan you will be offered a range of facades to choose from that suit that design. All floorplans come with what we call our base facade, which is included in the price of the home. You can choose to upgrade to one of the more detailed facades for an additional cost.

Final Payment

Payment of the final claim owing.

Floor Plan

A scaled drawing of the arrangement of rooms, stairs, doorways, and physical features viewed from above.

Handover

The day you receive the keys to your new home.

Inclusions

An itemised list of all products included in the starting price of your home. For example, products used for flooring, windows and tiles.

Land Agent

A Land Agent is a real estate agent that is handling the sale of land.

Land Developer

The company that has created the sub-division of land.

Memorandum of Common Provisions

A document linked to the plan of subdivision/title that states certain rules that need to be adhered to.

Occupancy Permit

The occupancy permit is an important part of the overall building permit process. Upon notification from the builder that works are complete, the building surveyor conducts a final inspection of the dwelling to to ensure works are complete, compliant with the relevant building regulations and that the dwelling is fit for habitation.

Hamlan submits the application for Occupancy Permit, Compliance certificates for all works conducted by the Registered Plumber/s & Electrician/s, Insulation compliance statements for Energy Efficiency along with other documentation for records purposes. Once the inspection has been carried out and approved and the application for occupancy permit documents checked and collated, the occupancy permit can be issued.

Upon issuing of the occupancy permit by the relevant building surveyor, a copy of the occupancy permit is provided to the owner of the dwelling to confirm the dwelling is fit for habitation. As part of the state regulatory requirements, a copy of the occupancy permit is also sent to council for their records and the Victorian Building Authority is notified that the final inspection has been conducted and approved.

This permit is required for the owner to release the final funds from their bank before handover.

Orientation

Determines how your new home can be positioned on your land to take advantage of the northern sun. Orientation is important to create a more energy-efficient home that is warm in winter and cool in summer. By making the most of your block and your home’s orientation you can on heating and cooling costs.

Plans

The drawings that show the layout and design details of the building works, including dimensions and elevations, and the Engineer’s design.

Plan of Sub-Division (POS)

A council-issued plan of the subdivided land into lots.

Possession

The person(s) or parties that will occupy, use or control the house once it is complete.

Pre-contract Agreement

A signed agreement between builder and client upon payment of deposit, given builder permission to commence production procedures for a home to be constructed.

Pre-handover

A meeting on the site of your new home where you look over the build and ask your building manager to make repairs to incomplete items.

Progress Payment/Stage Claims

A payment that the builder may claim on the completion of each construction stage—base, frame, lock-up, fixing and handover—as detailed in the contract.

Property/Planning Report

A detailed report obtained from LandVic showing detailed information of a parcel of land. Such as street/address details/ street directory reference, utilities, planning zones and overlays, bushfire prone area and heritage register information.

Site Access

Access for site and soil tests as well as trades people’s vehicles from the roadway to the building site on the land.

Site Costs

The costs required to enable us to build the requested home on the property as per engineers’ designs. Covers site cut, infrastructure costs (service and connections), slab upgrade, retaining walls, wind rating etc.

Site Drainage

Drains deemed by the Soil Test Report to be necessary to protect the building works from water damage on the building site.

Site Plan

Reflects the Registered Plan and contains contours, features and the house ‘footprint’.

Siting

Placing the design of a house on the parcel of land to show the placement and orientation.

Slab/Subfloor

A concrete slab is laid as a foundation for the house being built.

Soil Test Report

An investigation of the building site that is designed to look for: evidence of filling on the land; concealed rock: and, establish a depth for the footing excavations.

Specifications

Contract document containing the full details of the building works/inclusions and includes the materials to be supplied by the builder.

Sub-Contractor (Subbie)

A person or company who contracts with the builder to carry out building works.

Titled Land/Settlement

Land that has passed compliance from governing bodies such as Powercor, council and Barwon Water and has been submitted to the land titles office to generate a new title of land as per the plan of subdivision.
Settlement is when the purchasers of the land pay for this land and the title gets transferred into their own name.

Variation Order

When you or the builder generate variations to a contract. For example, extra length of drainage, rock excavation. An on-site variation is a variation to the original contract that has been incurred once the building stage has commenced.

Warranty

The supporting function that takes place once the customer handover phase of building is completed. The Warranty team is responsible for fixing any building issues that may arise once the customer has taken possession, according to the guarantee extended to the customer.

Working Drawing

A complete set of structural, civil, electrical drawings of a house plans for the intention of onsite construction accurately

In Summary

We believe communication is key to building a dream Hamlan home and to do that we like to arm our clients with all the information to ensure their building journey is stress-free and ultimately enjoyable.

In this guide to builder’s jargon we explain common words and terms you might hear during your building journey.

With Hamlan’s open and honest communication, your building experience will improve ten-fold.

To learn more about building a home with Hamlan

contact us today.