3 biggest problems during the building phase and how to avoid them

3 biggest problems during the building phase and how to avoid them

Renovations, Tips and Advice, New Homes

problems during the building phase

Occasionally building projects go smoothly with no problems and everyone is getting along famously. But more often than not they don’t. This is why it helps to know in advance of the potential problems that can occur. So you can look at ways to avoid problems during the building phase.

And while many things could go wrong, for the sake of this article I’d like to focus on three of the biggest problems that can and do occur.

Project delays

Hold ups to your project are costly not only in terms of dollars but also in terms of emotional stress. Financially they can quickly begin to blow out a project’s budget. Even if they don’t add anything directly to the cost of the construction itself, they can cost you money in other ways. For example, if you are renting, or have things in storage, delays that run over some weeks can start becoming very expensive very quickly.

A lack of proper planning typically causes project delays. Which is often caused by insufficient detail in the design documentation that the builder is using. It is for this reason that we put so much detail in all of our documentation. That way the builder always know what they are quoting on and what is required of them and by when.

Cost blowouts

Builders asking for variations on the building contract can cause cost blowouts. Often these are not a fault of the builder themselves. But once again the fault of insufficient detail in the design documentation that they are working off.

Another challenge can be the contracts that clients sign with the builders that don’t favour the homeowner when it comes to things like variations. We will recommend that our clients use our contracts and have us administer the contract for them.

You have a greater chance of avoiding costly blowouts if you add more detail to the documentation that you have builders quote on initially. Detailed scope of work and product selections leave little scope for the builder to argue the point, thus saving you money. So it pays to invest in the extra detail upfront to save you money down the track.

Poor communication

Often a result of project delays and cost blowouts, poor communication and total communication breakdowns can and do occur on building projects. This is once again partly due to a lack of detail in the documentation that the builder has been given. But can also be caused by the owners of the home not fully understanding how the construction phase works.

It’s also true that some builders can just be grumpy, abrupt individuals that lack people skills. Sure they might be great builders, but great communicators they are not. And it’s not uncommon for some builders or contractors to try to bluff their clients or pull the wool over their eyes.


So how can you avoid these three problems on your building project? So how do you do that?

Well to start with, you should consider engaging an architect to create your detailed design documentation. This will immediately eliminate 80% of the problems during the building phase of your home.

Tailor-made contracts also reduce stress and give our client’s peace of mind and protection during the construction phase.

But just as importantly, having us administer your contract, inspecting the work and communicating with the builder on your behalf can save enormous amounts of stress and additional expense.

So if you’re thinking about building or renovating, you owe it to yourself to consider the options available and get some quality advice first and foremost.

Dion Seminara Architect


We are experts at home design, renovations and new homes and ensure good value for money outcomes.

Hi, I am Dion Seminara, practicing architect and licensed general builder for 30 years as well as an environmental sustainable design (ESD) expert. I graduated from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with honours, QLD in 1989. Registered as an architect in 1991 and registered as a builder in 1992, I am also a fellow member of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). Having received 12 ArCHdes Residential Architecture Awards, LJ Hooker Flood Free Home Design Award and the 2016 AIA Regional Commendation for Public Architecture, my expertise with both residential renovation (to all types of houses, especially Queenslanders, 50s/60s/80s), new contemporary homes and luxury residences has earned me a reputation as one of Brisbane's architectural specialists in lifestyle design architecture, interior design and landscape design.