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Contracts and your clients

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Contracts are the key to your project running smoothly. At HIA we hope these hints can help.

Melissa Adler

Executive Director - Industrial Relations and Legal Services

Getting paid in full and on time. Sounds great doesn’t it? To help you manage your client and their expectations, at HIA we have developed a range of contract documentation to safeguard you and take away some of the uncertainty.

Here are some guidelines that are there to help.

Pick the right contract for your project

Signing a residential building contract is your biggest and most important step. Sure, it is critical to make sure you comply with your legal obligations, but it is also important that the work progresses in a timely, orderly and transparent way.

The contract is there for you and your client to refer to at any stage to make sure you both understand expectations and deliverables. 
If things don’t go according to plan it’s also there to provide you with security and guidance.

HIA has a range of contracts, available online or in hard copy, for residential building work in each state and territory.

Do you need more time?

At HIA we are acutely aware of current delays in supply chain for materials and labour from the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and increased building activity due to the HomeBuilder grants - it’s hard to juggle it all.

Under your contract, if there have been unforeseen delays, you can ask your client for more time to complete the works.
HIA’s extension of time documentation ensures that you get this request right, which can help avoid disputes and potential claims by clients for any costs incurred due to such delays.

HIA has also developed a range of resources to help you manage delays during building work.

Do you need to make a change? 

From a simple change of mind to a giant shift in scope, making changes to your documentation is an inevitable part of doing business as a builder.

HIA has variation documents for each state and territory that can help ensure you have a clear agreement regarding the change between you and your client.

This includes when the variation must be paid and any necessary extension of time needed due to the change.

Pay day without delay

It goes without saying that you should be paid for the work that you do.

Generally a claim for payment can be made at the completion of a stage of building work as set out in your progress payment schedule.

HIA’s region specific progress claim certificates have been created to formalise the payment process and are an essential part of securing payment throughout your building project.

When the end is near

Coming to the end of a job can be an emotional time for homeowners. It is also often the time when payment issues arise and disagreements bubble to the surface.
HIA’s contracts provide a process to follow to help reduce the risk of a dispute. 

Part of that process is issuing a notice or certificate of practical completion, which is tailored to your local HIA contract. This signals the end of the works, provides a process for the identification of any issues and the timing for final payment, and when you can both celebrate the new home and a job well done.

Documents vary by region so check Contracts Online for your local version.

HIA members can also access free advice on the contractual arrangements. Contact a HIA Workplace Advisor on 1300 650 620 for further information.