There is a saying that ‘to be forewarned is to be forearmed’. One of the most frustrating and disappointing aspects of having a new home built is that the whole process sometimes can drag on for what seems like forever. Of course you need to get your expectations in order. If you have a completion date provided by an experienced and expert builder, generally speaking you will know pretty much exactly when you will be able to move in. From that information you can set your expectations. But don’t allow your expectations to run away from you. It may all end in tears when the job is not finished on time.

Red tape is everywhere

Now there are different aspects to the red tape associated with the building of your new home. You need to get approval to build a home in the first place, your builder needs to get permits for various parts of the building process, the contractors will need to comply with building codes, for example the glazing contractors will need to install glass, such as shower screens and mirrors to the correct safety standards and you need to get a clearance from the building inspectors at various stages of the build and finally, when your house is finished, you need to get what is usually called a certificate of occupancy. This is the final piece of red tape which allows you to actually move into your new home.

Understand from the very beginning that red tape exists. In some states and with some councilsit is more complex than with others. But never lose sight of the fact that you have to deal with authorities, and that governments, councils and red tape go hand-in-hand.

The expression red tape means rules, regulations and laws which need to be followed before an action can be approved. Hundreds of years ago documents which required official blessing or approval were bound using red tape.

There is another expression that you ‘can’t fight city hall’ so right from the beginning of your new building project, accept the fact that you must fill in the appropriate forms the correct way answering every required question. If you fail to do so it will mean that you have to re-submit whatever application you are making and your finish date will be pushed out even further. Worse still, if you fail to do the right thing with red tape and go ahead anyway, you may have to pull down the unapproved work and start again. Think of the time lost and cost involved in that.

Unforeseen circumstances

You may live in an area where extreme weather is rarely if ever seen. But it only takes one freak storm, one unexpected act of God and your new home build could be hit for six. Yes, you may be covered by insurance but the factor here is time. Bad weather can prevent the builder from working or working at the normal speed. Were you expecting to move in by Christmas? Does your contract have a completion date of X? Acts of God can cause delays and they will be mentioned in your contract.

The builder doesn’t want to miss the completion date. There is the builder’s reputation to think of and possible fines. So the builder will want the contract to protect his or her interests.

If an unexpected matter causes delays, two likely things will occur.

  • You won’t get your house built by the completion date and
  • You’ll have to continue paying for your temporary accommodation [assuming you’re not getting free board from family or friends] while still paying off your mortgage

Remember you needed the money to get the project built in the first place.

By all means be enthusiastic and hopeful but Rome wasn’t built in a day, red tape is alive and well and you should set the bar for your expectations at a relatively low height; that way any unexpected problems will have far less of an unhappy impact.