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Breaking down construction 'stages'

By Abodable November 18, 2021, Read time: 4 min

Building a house is a pretty straightforward process, but sometimes the terminology and finer detail of the contract might be confusing. While many people assume you sign a contract and pay the builder when the home is complete, this isn't the case. When you build a home, you need to be aware of key milestones* of the process and progress payment (or invoiced) stages. Read on to find out more about the stages of construction!


When the builder has started on-site, you may get excited and think there is a slab down! Commencement more generally means that the builder has cut the site to prepare your slab to go down. 

Slab (Invoiced stage)
Not only does this mean that your slab has gone down, but the all-important foundations for your home have been laid! It also means any relevant electrical and plumbing under slab items will have also been installed.

Frame (Invoiced stage)
The internal and external wall frames for your home will now go up, as well as your roof trusses. It's starting to take shape!

Enclosed/Lock Up (Invoiced stage)
This is where the external view of your house really comes together! The roof, gutter and window are installed at this point. The external wall material is erected/installed, and the house can be 'locked up'. It is important to note that this will not necessarily mean a garage door has to be installed; as long as the builder can lock the home internally (excluding the garage), they can invoice you as this stage is complete. 

Fixing/Fit-out (Invoiced stage)
Moving inside now, you might feel like not a lot is happening as you can't just drive past and see changes as you could previously. But a lot is happening here! Your internal wall linings are going up, cabinetry, plumbing, and electrical items are being installed, and the finer detail is coming together!

Practical Completion (Invoiced stage)
Hooray! The house has been painted, floor coverings have gone down, and the home is (almost) complete. Time to get the keys, right? Well, not quite. Practical Completion means that the house has been completed to the contract, excluding minor omissions and defects. So basically, the home is ready, but there might be a handle here and there to be installed, your turf might still need to go down, or it may still need a clean. At this point, you'll inspect the property with the builder, so don't worry! You'll get a chance to note anything that needs to be rectified before you move in, and it will be agreed upon with the builder at your Practical Completion inspection. 

At this point, you'll start getting ready for the next stage. To ensure you're fully prepared, and there are no delays in obtaining the keys, read our blog on:
A Guide To Practical Completion.
Now, THIS is when you're all ready to move in! You would have been given your handover date and your final invoice at Practical Completion, including any outstanding variations. Once these are paid, the builder will confirm the handover date and time to give you the keys to your new home! 

*These stages may vary slightly from builder to builder, depending on the contract type they use. Make sure to familiarise yourself with these stages within the contract before the start of construction, or, work with a home buyer advocate like Abodable who will look into this for you!*