The building phase hero

The building phase

Living through the building phase of a renovation project can be a very busy time. We look at what is involved and some safety aspects to consider.

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What is involved

Throughout the building work, you will be:

  • Monitoring progress (particularly if you are managing the whole project).
  • Keeping records.
  • Making sure you have materials and appliances selected for when they are need to be installed.
  • Making progress payments when agreed in the contract. For smaller projects you might pay only at the end. For larger projects you might pay a deposit first, and make regular progress payments as each stage is completed.
  • Required to authorise variations, for example, where a particular brand of wallboard is not available and the builder wants to use a different brand, or where you decide to make changes along the way. Only make your own changes if it is absolutely necessary – deciding halfway through to alter the placement of doors and windows, for example, will add to the costs and time. Make sure any variations are dealt with in a professional manner, including agreeing in writing and getting amendments to the building consent if required.
  • Calling for the building consent authority inspector at the stages indicated on the consent to come and sign off the stages (if you are managing the project).
  • Calling the building consent authority inspector to make the final inspections for code compliance certification.
  • Making your own inspections to see if everything looks correct.
  • Asking the builder or other tradespeople to fix things.
  • Paying any retentions and final progress payments.

If you have someone managing the project on your behalf, they will ensure these steps are taken.


If you are still living in the house while work is going on, you need to be especially conscious of risks to the safety of you and your family. Don’t let children play or wander around the work area. Danger comes from the generally hazardous nature of building sites, including:

  • Falls into excavations, or off the edges of building work.
  • Power tools in operation or left lying around.
  • Fumes or contamination from building materials, including treated timber, and glues in enclosed spaces.

If you are doing the work yourself, follow normal commonsense safety practices, such as ladder safety, and using the correct safety gear.

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