How Much Should Stage (Progress) Payments Be

When you contract someone to build a new house you are required to make regular payment as each STAGE is completed. . . . But how much?

Well builders want to get paid as soon as possible so they will want the early payments to be as big as possible.

You as the purchaser need to make sure you aren’t paying for work that’s yet to be done. (See this link: If The Builder Goes Bust) You will need enough money to finish the house!

A good guide to what’s fair is found in a Victorian Government Act which lay down the following percentages of the full contract price:

    1. Deposit 5%
    2. Base 10% – (Check on this link to find  what you get; Base )
    3. Frame 15% – (link at: Frame 15)
    4. Lock Up 35% – (link at :Lock Up)
    5. Fixing 25% – (link at Fixing 25%)
    6. Completion 10% – (link at: Completion)

In Victoria many builders will ask you to sign an agreement accepting that the above payment levels don’t apply and the percentages will be similar to those shown below.

In other Australian states where there is no Act controlling the amount of progress payments then the builder is more likely to want the following values of progress payments.

    1. Deposit 5%
    2. Base 20%
    3. Frame 20%
    4. Lock Up 25%
    5. Fixing 20%
    6. Completion 10%

Think very carefully before you accept these different payments, as it increases your level of risk if things go wrong.

Before you make each progress payment, you need to check the work comprising the stage is:

    • Complete
    • Meets your contract requirements
    • Meets the building regulations

If you are not confident checking the work it may be worthwhile using an independent building consultant to check everything before you make progress payments.

If you want to check yourself you may find this link: PCI Guide useful

Whatever happens do not pay any money in advance of when the contract requires it.


For more information about when Progress Payments are made see Construction Stages

For similar posts see this link: Contract Documents



  1. John Song

    Hi, I signed a contract with a builder to build a townhouse at backyard. I want to know which stage the drainage, which goes under driveway to front street to connect property of Melbourne Water, should be completed in.


    1. Brian Ashworth (Post author)

      Generally drainge pipes should go in as early as possible to ensure the site is well drained.

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