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

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

New Homes, Renovations, Tips and Advice

problems during the building phase

As an architect I can tell you with 100% conviction that my favourite building projects are the ones where everyone gets along famously, and the build process is as smooth as butter. Sadly, more often than not this isn’t the way the project goes – and problems occur throughout the build phase.

Problems during the build phase are most difficult to deal with when you aren’t prepared to deal with them, so without further ado – here are 3 of the problems I see occur the most during the build phase!

Project delays

Delays to your project are costly – not only in terms of dollars but also in terms of emotional stress. Financially speaking these delays can quickly begin to blow out a project’s budget, and besides 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 a property during the construction on your own property, or you have paid to secure your possessions in storage, these delays that run over some weeks can start to become very expensive very quickly.

A lack of proper planning typically causes project delays – more specifically delays are 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 knows exactly what they are quoting on, and what is required of them.

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 they are working off.

Another thing that can cause hurdles in the build process is the contracts that clients sign with the builders. These contracts favour the builders, not the homeowner, when it comes to things like variations. If you want to ensure that your contracts are without biases, the only real way to achieve this is to use a third party contract. We always recommend that our clients use our contracts, and have us administer the contract for them, to save the potential issues that can arise by using builder contracts.

It’s worth noting that adding more detail to the documentation is another way to proactively avoid costly blowouts, as builders will know exactly what it is they are quoting on. Detailed scope of work and product selections leave little scope for the builder to argue the point, thus saving you money. As you can see – there are many ways in which it pays to invest in your design and detailing! The extra money needed to guarantee extra detail upfront will often save you money down the track.

Poor communication

Often a result of project delays and cost blowouts, poor communication and total communication breakdowns  are also known to 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 it 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, as with people working in any other profession, can just be grumpy and abrupt individuals that lack people skills.

Sure your chosen contractors might be great builders, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they will be great communicators. It’s also 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?

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 during the building phase and wee find they often give our clients the peace of mind and protection that is needed during the construction phase.

Just as importantly, having us or another third party administer your contract, making sure they are regularly 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.