Handover of the site to your client takes place when you’ve reached practical completion.

This means you’ve completed all the work in accordance with the contract, plans and specifications. If there are any defects or omissions, they should only be minor.

The work must be reasonably suitable for habitation and should comply with all relevant statutory requirements, including the Building Code of Australia.

Pre-handover inspection

We suggest that you arrange an on-site inspection with the client perhaps a week before the date nominated for handover. This gives you a final opportunity to address any remaining issues prior to handover.

When should you receive final payment?

You can ask for final payment once you reach practical completion. You need to let the owner know at least 2 to 3 weeks before the date.

On smaller jobs, ask for payment when all work is complete. Again, it must be in accordance with the contract, plans and specifications, and should comply with the relevant statutory requirements.

On handover day

Give the owner copies of any outstanding documentation such as:

  • certificates of inspection
  • product warranties for appliances installed, and
  • reports, notices or other documentation issued by service providers (e.g. electricity, gas, telephone, water or sewerage).

It is recommended that you provide the homeowner with all certificates of inspection (including where appropriate, the ‘final’ certificate) prior to receiving the final payment. This can also be a mandatory requirement of your contract, so it is important that you’re aware of the contract conditions.

Defects document

Complete this with the owner during handover inspection.

It must:

  • list the minor defects and minor omissions that both you and the homeowner agree to
  • state when you’ll attend to the matters
  • separately list minor defects or minor omissions that only the home owner believes exist, and
  • be signed by the homeowner and yourself (or if you’ve signed it you need to make reasonable efforts to have the owner sign it).

Fixing items listed on the defects document

You need to fix any minor defects or omissions that you note at handover, as soon as practical and in agreeance with the owner providing reasonable access to the site. Your contact may stipulate a specific timeframe for this.

If there are any other defects discovered after that time, the owner should send you a written list. Keep copies of all correspondence for your records.

See Handling customer complaints and how to deal with them.