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How to Successfully Handover a Construction Project to a Client




Getting ready to hand over a project to a client is exciting! You’ve put in months (or maybe even years) of hard work, have seen great results, and are ready to hand over your work to your client. But wait - before you cross the finish line, it’s important to carry everything out the right way.

Far too often, builders overlook this extremely important step in the project process and make the mistake of handing over the keys too soon.

To help prevent dissatisfied clients, delayed or worst case no payment, in this article we cover how to carry out a smooth handover ensuring all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed including:


  • Contractual Obligations

  • Maintenance and Understanding the Fine Print

  • Builders Statutory Warranty

  • Inspections

  • Securing Payment



1. Contractual Obligations


Ensuring you’ve followed contractual obligations and process is the first step in the handover procedure. From obtaining an occupancy permit to issuing a final claim to handing over the keys, these all must be completed and followed in a certain way.

Review the contract you and your client signed to ensure you follow these steps and obligations as the Builder.

2. Maintenance and Understanding the Fine Print


Do you and your client understand the difference between the ‘defect’s liability period’ and the ‘builder’s statutory warranties’ as set out in the Domestic Building Contract?

You can find the list of statutory warranties in Victoria here. You will also find key information on your exposures to warranties on materials and fixtures when clients are providing their own or even when you as the Builder have supplied them.

During the handover process, it’s important to ensure you’ve again, completed everything that is in the contract unless otherwise stated. To help protect you and your business, we highly recommend reading through the Domestic Building Contracts Act. It’s not a long read and has crucial information that every builder needs to know.

We also suggest seeking specialist construction contract legal advice specific to domestic building in Victoria.

3. Inspection Time


Have you completed a proper walk-through with the client prior to handover to ensure all possible defects have been identified? This could save you a lot of trouble down the line if there are any problems that are picked up.

A well thought out and detailed handover document/checklist is a great way to carry out your own self-checks as a builder as well as with your clients. This helps defects from being missed and potentially escalating as time goes on. They also provide a record and paper trail for future dealings with your clients.

You can find some great walk-through checklists online that will help make sure you don’t miss anything. Once you’ve done a walkthrough, do it again. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

4. Securing Payment


Have you made the all-too-common mistake of handing over the project before being paid? This can result in nasty and expensive legal proceedings.

One thing you can do to ensure you receive your payment is to make sure you do not handover the keys and the project until final payment has been received, this is required under the Domestic Building Contract. All too often, final payment disputes arise after the client has already moved in.

It’s over to you now!


With all of the steps in a construction project, handing over and closing is generally the stage with the most delays. By now we hope you have a better understanding of what to look out for when closing a project with as few road bumps as possible.

Project handovers and contractual obligations and procedures are just some of the topics we discuss at The Builders Lounge. Whether you’re looking for ways to improve your construction business or are searching for support and advice for your start-up, The Builders Lounge is the perfect place to be. Contact us today to find out how you can become a part of a growing network that is changing the industry one builder at a time.

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