Construction Stages – Background

For readers unfamiliar with the building process I thought I would provide some information on the various construction activities that will be carried out in the full schedule.

This schedule has been generally be based on the typical single storey brick veneer house, on slab, which I am most familiar with.(Every builder will have slightly different items in each stage but this provides a general guide)

As there are a lot of steps I will break it up into the separate work packages that comprise the the stage payments after a 5% deposit has been paid.

These work packages are

  • BASE ( approx 20% of Cost)

This package covers all the work in site preparation, up to ground floor level.

See this link for more details: Base

  •  FRAME (approx 20% of Costs)

This is when the frame for the house and the roof trusses have been fixed and the windows have been fixed in position.

See this link for more details: Frame

  • LOCK UP (approx 25% of Costs)

This includes external brickwork, or cladding, final covering of roof and fixing of house doors. (often the front door will be a temporary door)

See this link for more details: Lock Up

  • FIXING (approx 20% of Costs)

Comprises all the work up to completion of drylining walls and ceilings and installation of bathroom and kitchen cabinets.

Completion of attached garages, porticos. and carports.

See this link for more details: Fixing

  •  COMPLETION (approx 10% of Costs)

Everything left to make you home ready to move in.

See this link for more details: Completion

Although you will be asked to visit site for the a Pre-Completion Inspection (PCI) I would recommend at least a visit at the end of each of the stages, to check how things are going, and ask questions.


For similar psts see Construction Stages

For more on stage payments see Progress Payments


Construction Stage 4 – Fixing

Fixing follows on from Lock Up.

The fixing stage is moving from a very rough looking interior to something resembling the house you are expecting.

During this stage the following works will be taking place:

  • Install Insulation This includes both roof and wall insulation Although the wall insulation will be installed before dry walling the ceiling insulation may be installed following ceiling board installation.
  • Electrical – Rough in Running cables/conduits and installing switch and outlet boxes to the frame.
  • Plumbing – Rough In Running pipes inside walls
  • Plasterboard installation This will include ceiling boards, wall boards and cornices.
  • Air conditioning / Ducted Heating If a large main unit is mounted in the roof space it may be installed before the ceiling boards are in place.
  • Waterproofing Wet Areas The waterproofing membrane is applied to floors and walls before tiling
  • Carpentry – First Fix This sees the kitchen cupboards and bathroom vanities carcasses installed. (Doors, drawers, and counter tops are often left off at this stage) Skirting boards and architraves and internal window sills are also installed.
  • Main Plumbing Fixtures Baths, basins, sinks shower trays and laundry troughs are installed and connected to the drainage system. Taps, mixers and toilet bowls are often left off until after tiling.
  • Tiling Both wall and floor tiling are normally completed at this stage.
  • Portico and Carports These will be constructed at this stage together with any freestanding garage. It’s likely that the garage door however will be left until later.

The next stage is 5; Completion

The Practical Completion Inspection (PCI) will be coming up soon. This PCI Guide tells you what you need to look out for.

For similar posts see Construction Stages

For more on stage payments see Progress Payments


Construction Stage 3 – Lock Up

The house really starts to look more like what you expected as the build advances from the Frame Stage to Lock up.

Looks however can be deceptive… in actual fact the building process is really only 50% completed at Lock Up.

Here are the work items that comprise this stage of the works:

  • Building Wrap This wrap is used to protect the building, retain the insulation, prevent drafts, and allow moisture vapor to escape from the insulation. In its basic form a reinforced paper such as Tyvek may be used. Higher specification materials include additional insulation and/or reflective coatings.
  • Attach Windows Normally the window frames are attached to the frame before the brickwork starts and the brickwork is then built against the frames and tied in.
  • Clad Roof This may or may not include sarking under the tiles or roof steel. (Sarking is only required for certain wind strengths and roof slopes, although I think its always worthwhile.
  • Completed Walls This will be the brickwork or the typical house. In the case of a rendered house it may be blocks or even an insulation system instead of bricks. The render is not applied until later in the construction process
  • Attach Facia boards and Gutters Once the external walls are finished the facia boards, and soffiet boards if you have got eves, are fitted. Gutters are often fitted at this stage although the downpipes are frequently left until later.
  • Install Doors Of course to lock up the house you need doors. If you have specified expensive doors the builder may well fit temporary doors to make the house secure. The proper doors will only be fitted before the final inspection to minimise the chance of damage.

Once the house is at Lock Up it’s the last time you will be able to sneak round and inspect the work at night! You will need to make appointments now to check up on things.

For similar posts see Construction Stages

For more on stage payments see Progress Payments


Construction Stage 2 – Frame

This stage of the building is fairly quick but gives you a chance to get a feel for the finished house.

Framing usually starts a few days after the slab has finished. Sometimes frame erection may start the day after the slab has been laid. Although not ideal the load from the frame is fairly small compared with the loading from the brickwork and the roof covering.

  • Wall Frames Usually finished in two days for a single storey house although it may take longer for a 2 storey house.
  • Roof Trusses Usually will be completed in another day or two.
  • Roughing In Cables and Pipes Sometimes called first fix, this work involve fitting the cables and pipes that will be hidden behind walls such as;
    • Water Will involve running water pipes from entry point on the slab to all cold tap positions and hot water service. Lines will also be run from hot water service to hot tap positions. In the case of a solar hot water system with remote panels the lines between the hot water service and the roof panel location may also be run.
    • Gas Lines will be run from the proposed meter position to the site of all gas appliances.
    • Electrical In addition to running cable to all power locations steel backing plates for the power outlets are usually fixed to the frame at this stage. some data lines may also be run
  • Wrap
    The building is also wrapped with a plasticised paper wrap which helps protect the interior and insulation during the bricklaying.

It’s worth checking at this stage whether the plumbers and electricians have damaged the frames. Check:  Holes in Frames


For similar posts see Construction Stages

For more on stage payments see Progress Payments


Construction Stage 1 – Base

Most of the work that comprises this stage of the construction will be hidden when the house is completed

That doesn’t mean it should be ignored as it has a significant impact on the completed house.

This work package can be subdivided as follows:

Site Set Up

  • Temporary Fencing. Most councils now require 1.8m high fencing of sites.
  • Power supply. Originally a temporary box on a pole at the start, These days installation may be delayed until slab construction and then the final box put in at the finished position.
  • Portable Toilet 
  • Silt barriers Only on sites where silt may be washed off site. Can be hay bales or a geotextile (like a shade cloth fence)


  • Site clearance Removal of topsoil, vegetation and any rubbish.
  • Initial peg out. To provide enough information to allow excavation works.
  • Cut and fill Providing one or more level ‘platforms’ that the house will be built on.
  • Retaining walls Any major retaining walls that are required to either support or retain the building ‘platform’. Other retaining walls will often be part of landscaping.

Drainage and Pipework

  • Building set out.
  • Sewage and Drainage Pipes.

Slab Construction

For more about Construction Stages check out this link: Background

To find out about Stage Payments see this link: Progress Payments