For safety reasons, regulations exist to restrict who’s allowed to access your home’s construction site. While construction, demolition or renovation’s underway there are likely to be all kinds of uncontrolled hazards on the site, and the Principal Contractor (i.e. your builder) is completely responsible for making sure that only people who have completed a safety induction and who have been issued a construction induction card are allowed unsupervised access to the site.
But I’m the owner...!
Perhaps so. But that doesn't change the fact that for the purposes of occupational health and safety (OHS), even as the owner of the land you’re technically not allowed onto your construction site unless:
- you’ve had a full safety induction, or
- you’re accompanied by someone who’s had the proper induction
What happens if I enter the site unsupervised?
It’s the builder’s responsibility to ensure that no unauthorised people are allowed onto the construction site. There are very steep fines in place across Australia for instances where people without the necessary authorisation enter construction sites.
If you get caught unsupervised (or worse, get injured) on the site the builder could easily cop a massive fine. If you enter a building site without permission, the builder has the right to remove you.
How should the builder keep people out?
Temporary fence should be erected around the site which helps to keep people out. The fence needs to be at least 1.8 metres high, and should be secure, difficult to climb and difficult to gain access through from the bottom.
What are my rights to inspect the building site?
You should have the right to inspect the property or have a technical advisor carry out inspections during construction, but in order to do so you will normally need to arrange for access to the site through the builder.
Your access rights as a consumer will differ depending on which state or territory you live in, but generally speaking the builder should provide 'reasonable' access to the site - the interpretation of what's 'reasonable' is where it gets murky though. If you interfere with or delay building work, any additional costs arising from this will be your responsibility - not the responsibility of the builder.
When does the house get handed over to me?
Once the house is at the lock-up stage, you’ve done the final inspections and you’re satisfied with any rectifications that have been made, your builder can then apply for what’s called an Occupancy Permit.
A building certifier will decide whether or not the building is up to scratch, and if they’re satisfied, will issue the builder with an Occupancy Permit. The handover officially occurs when the builder gives you this Occupancy Permit.