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HIA Contract for Residential Building:
A Home Owner’s Guide

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Receiving your HIA Contract from your builder is an exciting time for most homeowners. The first thing to do is to conduct a HIA building contract review. You will want to manage your risk on Costs, Time, and Quality of the build.

Table of Contents

HIA Contracts for New Dwellings

Residential building contracts issued by the Housing Industry Association, such as the HIA NSW Residential Building Contracts for New Dwellings, are typically written to favor Builders.

Therefore, you as home owner, must be mindful of the terms or clauses embodied in the contract, and review them first before signing. 

NSW Residential Building Contract for New Dwellings
Sample HIA NSW Residential Building Contract. For illustration purposes only.

What are Contract Terms?

Contract terms represent the written agreement of the parties. They are organised into different sections called “Clauses.” They lay out and define each party’s:

What to Focus On

HIA building contracts in NSW typically contain upwards of 30 pages. That may seem daunting to a first time home owner. 

You can then use this guide to know which parts of the contract you should focus on – i.e., the clauses that affect your risks relating to:

List of Important Terms/Clauses

Here’s a quick look at your HIA fixed price building contract’s must-know provisions:

1. Building Period
What it saysWhy you should know thisRisk Category
Sets out the time when the building project must have reached practical completionIt affects other matters like payment, liquidated damages, extension of time✓ Time
✓ Cost
HIA Contract Building Period
Sample HIA NSW Residential Building Contract. For illustration purposes only.
2. Liquidated Damages
What it saysWhy you should know thisRisk Category
Gives home owner the right to a certain sum if works aren’t completed by a certain dateIt affects other matters like payment, liquidated damages, extension of time✓ Time
✓ Cost
Liquidated Damages on HIA Contract
Sample HIA NSW Residential Building Contract. For illustration purposes only.
3. Progress Payments
What it saysWhy you should know thisRisk Category
The HIA Building Contract Progress Payments tells you the different stages of work to be completed, and the corresponding payment due for each stageSo you can manage your budget and be on top of your obligation, and to prevent incurring penalties✓ Time
✓ Cost
✓ Quality
HIA Building Contract Progress Payments
Sample HIA NSW Residential Building Contract. For illustration purposes only.
4. Essential Matters
What it saysWhy you should know thisRisk Category
It obliges you to show proof of your right to build, among othersThis is evidence of your right to build and your capacity to pay✓ Cost
HIA Contract Essential Matters
Sample HIA NSW Residential Building Contract. For illustration purposes only.
5. Commencement Date
What it saysWhy you should know thisRisk Category
Sets out the start date of the building worksThis affects other matters like payment and completion✓ Time
✓ Cost
Commencement date on building works for HIA Contract
Sample HIA NSW Residential Building Contract. For illustration purposes only.
6. Variation
What it saysWhy you should know thisRisk Category
The HIA Contract Variations lays out the procedure for either party to claim variations (changes/additions to the original plan)Allows you to dispute the value and quality of the works✓ Time
✓ Cost
✓ Quality
HIA Contract Variations
Sample HIA NSW Residential Building Contract. For illustration purposes only.
7. Delays and Extensions of Time
What it saysWhy you should know thisRisk Category
Sets the instances and the procedure for Builder to claim an extension of timeSo you know when you may accept, or when you should contest claims for extension of time✓ Time
✓ Cost
✓ Quality
HIA Building Contract Delays and Extensions of Time
Sample HIA NSW Residential Building Contract. For illustration purposes only.
8. Termination
What it saysWhy you should know thisRisk Category
Sets out the grounds and procedure for either party to terminate the contractSo you have a recourse in case of breach or insolvency on the part of the Builder ✓ Time
✓ Cost
✓ Quality
HIA Contract Termination Clause
Sample HIA NSW Residential Building Contract. For illustration purposes only.
Sample HIA NSW Residential Building Contract. For illustration purposes only.
9. Dispute Resolution
What it saysWhy you should know thisRisk Category
Sets out the procedure for resolving building disputesSo you’ll know what to do in case a building dispute ensues✓ Time
✓ Cost
✓ Quality
Sample HIA NSW Residential Building Contract. For illustration purposes only.
10. Security of Payment
What it saysWhy you should know thisRisk Category
It sets out the home owner’s obligation to payThe Security of Payment Act
entitles Builders to claim payment from the home owner; this should put you on guard as to when you should pay so you won’t need to deal with payment issues, interest, and penalties later on
✓ Time
✓ Cost
✓ Quality
Security of Payment Clause on HIA Contract
Sample HIA NSW Residential Building Contract. For illustration purposes only.
Security of Payment Clause on HIA Contract
Sample HIA NSW Residential Building Contract. For illustration purposes only.

How We Can Help

These are just a few clauses that you need to pay careful attention to. For a more thorough understanding of your HIA contract, you may get in touch with Contracts Specialist for an in-depth Contract Review and Advise.

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ABIC NSW Contracts: Architect’s Guide

Find out what you need to know on:

  1. How to administer the ABIC Contract
  2. ABIC Contract Dispute Resolution
  3. How to assess a progress claim under the ABIC Contract
  4. Other important terms in the ABIC Contract

Send us a message. We’d love to hear from you.​

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Contracts Specialist is a Sydney-based construction law firm that deals with Building Disputes, Construction Contracts, Debt Recovery, and Security of Payment. With Contracts Specialist, you are ensured that you are in good hands.

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HIA Contract for Residential Building:
A Home Owner’s Guide
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