Reaching the end of your project is a big milestone. It’s the culmination of months of planning, negotiating and decision making.

It’s exciting knowing that you’re about to move into your home, or start using the new space if you’re renovating, so it’s easy to lose focus on what needs to be done during handover.

This is your opportunity to go through any minor issues with the building work, and receive all the certificates and relevant documents. Making the effort to check all the details will pay off in the long run.

What is handover?

A home reaches practical completion, or is ready for handover, when all the building work is done and you’re able to move in. It must be ‘suitable for habitation’, meaning it is functioning like a normal home and has power, water, and is weatherproof.

The house or work done for a renovation can still have some outstanding items such as painting touch-ups, but must not include any major defects.

This is also the point where you’ll make the final payment.

Before handover

Your builder should tell you 2 to 3 weeks in advance of when they expect to do the handover. We suggest that you arrange an on-site inspection a week or so before the final day, so that you can discuss any issues.

If you want someone with a bit more technical expertise to help you, you can engage the services of a building inspector to go through the building work.

Defective items

Document in writing any minor defects that you discover during the inspection, and make sure both you and the builder sign the document. Ensure you include the dates as to when the items will be fixed.


You may find in some instances, that you and the builder can’t agree on whether some items are defects. You still need to list these on your defects document.

See our complaints process for more information about options.

On the day

Make sure you get copies of any outstanding documents such as:

  • the practical completion certificate (for a new home)                    
  • certificates of inspection (e.g. slab, frame, waterproofing)
  • product warranties for appliances
  • reports, notices or other documentation issued by services providers (e.g. electricity, gas, telephone, water or sewerage). Note: If you have any problems with appliances after handover, contact the product supplier not your contractor.

The final payment

You can pay the last instalment when all contracted work is complete. The work must be in accordance with all relevant laws, legal requirements, and with the plans and specifications.

Some contracts require the builder to provide all certificates of inspection (including the 'final' certificate) before receiving final payment.

For smaller jobs, make the final payment when all the work is finished as per the contract and plans.