Frequently Asked Questions

for Residential Developments

Your FAQs about the residential development process with Highlife Homes.

What is the development process from start to finish?

Whether you are building a duplex, triplex, townhouses or multiplex on your land, the process is the same. Whether you are new or an experienced developer you will need to consider each of these 8 key stages no matter the size or complexity of your project:

  1. Pre-purchase (maybe add links for each step)
  2. Site assessment
  3. Design
  4. Pricing
  5. Finalising selections
  6. Contract
  7. Construction
  8. Preparing for sale

Want more information about these 8 stages  – click here!

How do I compare you to other builders?

Not only are we VERY transparent about the process, your inclusions and price variance, we are also very experienced in creating successful property developments that make the property developer a tidy profit.

We know the development process backwards, we know what designs people love and we know what inclusions and colours they love. When we work with property developers, our role goes beyond that of a builder, to truly help the property developer make the most out of their project.

We also offer additional services that other builder’s don’t, such as management of pre-construction development approval with town planners and delivery marketing and sales materials such as flyers, sign boards and also a finishes schedule and board so that buyers can touch and feel the textures of your finishes before it’s even built. A great way to entice people to buy off the plan! We can even help to liaise with your solicitors, set up body corporate, and handle final surveying and plan submission to council as well as final title registration for settlement.

Depending on how much you want to take on yourself, you can add as much or as little of these services as you’d like.

Do you offer any other services to developers besides construction?

YES! Highlife Homes can go further than the role of a builder to help you succeed with your development project.

We have the expertise to offer as much (or as little) insight, knowledge and help on the development process as you require. Please get in contact with us for more info on how we can help with your individual project – 1300 559 503.

Obviously we handle the building design and construction of the development project, but unlike other builders, we also offer additional services for developers, to take the pressure off them during pre and post-construction.

These include handling the development approval process with the town planners, handling any operational works requirements with council, plan sealing and title registration after construction is completed prior to settlement with your buyers, preparation of the CMS and body corporate set up. These additional services do incur additional cost if you choose to have us handle them for you.

What are the upfront costs?

To create a concept plan with elevations and floor plans, we require $600 to $2,000 depending on the size and complexity of your proposed development.

Once you are happy with the design and are ready to submit to council for Development Approval (DA), we will ask you to sign a Preliminary Agreement with Highlife Homes and pay a deposit. This deposit depends on the size and complexity of your design. For a more specific idea of this costs, give us a call and have a chat to us about what you’re thinking of building.

Once we have DA plans and you wish to proceed with us as your builder, we will require a secondary deposit to pull together all the finer details like full working drawings, final build price, selections and all contract inclusions. Again, due to the varying degree of development projects, this depends on the size and complexity of your particular development.

Once you sign the final contract, we will ask for the construction deposit, which will be 5% of the final contract price. What you have paid up until this date will be taken off this price. We factor everything into your final contract price so you know exactly what your build is going to cost you. This is very important for property developers that need to keep a close eye on their project’s expenses.

Once we receive this payment, we will submit your plans to council for Building Approval (BA) and then we can begin construction!

How long does it take to get building approval from council?

Before you can build a development, you will need to get both Develoment Approved (DA) plans and Building Approval (BA) through council. Your DA plans can be developed by our building designer in conjunction with your townplanner who will submit all the necessary paperwork to council.

The length and complexity of the approval process will be affected by how well your designs comply with current zoning of the building site. Code Assessable applications (within current zoning limitations) are generally less complex provided you are able to show a high level of compliance with the planning scheme.  Impact Assessable applications (that request to extend the current zoning limitations to allow for this build) require public notification for 15 business days whereby anyone can object or make submissions about your proposal. Once we have DA plans, we then move on to BA.

Building approval is submitted to council once all working drawings and the final contract are finalised. Building approval for a development can be slower than your regular residential build but usually takes 2-4 weeks. This may differ if it is a large scale project.

For more info on the Development process, click here.

To check out some of the developments we’ve done in our Portfolio.

What is the payment schedule for construction?

Payments for your new home will be required at the following stages:

1. Deposit (5%)

2. Base Stage

3. Frame Stage

4. Enclosed Stage

5. Fixing Stage

6. Practical Completion

You will be given (via email) your invoice within 5 working days of each stage being completed.

Your practical completion invoice will be issued approximately 2 weeks prior to the scheduled handover date, allowing your bank sufficient time to arrange the valuation and financial documents, and us to arrange for your final inspections certificate. Your buyers will be able to move in as soon as the final payment is made the the final inspection certificate has been issued.

How and when do I make the interior selections?

Once we have made our relationship official  with a final contract, you are ready to make your selections.

Our Highlife Homes colour consultant is an experiences interior designer with plenty of experience and heaps of knowledge in the latest trends. She will go shopping with you for your selections and will be there to offer as much or as little input as you’d like. She will be there to help you combine colours and textures, introduce you to new trends and be a guiding light of inspiration to help you get that look of luxury that is uniquely yours.

For a development, we recommend you utilise as much of her knowledge as possible because she has worked with countless new home clients and that is very valuable! She knows exactly what the majority of people like and want in their new home, from colours, to tile choices, carpets, tapware, benchtops, cabinetry, you name it! She will help you reach the broadest market possible.

Allow half to a full day for your selections appointment with our interior designer, there are a few location to go to and this is one of the most important milestones in the building process.

Can I make changes after I sign the contract?

Not a problem! If you would like to make changes to your selections we are happy to do so.  After you selections day with our interior designer you will have 14 days to make any changes that you would like, without incurring any administration fees. This is plenty of time and clients rarely make changes after this time period.

If you do discover something you just can’t live without, after this time period has passed, not a problem, we can make the change with a small administration fee.

How long does my proposal pricing remain valid?

The price indicated on your home tender is valid for 30 days. This should allow you enough time to do the rest of your diligence.

The reason for this time span is that the prices we have from trades and suppliers only last this long before they are subject to change.

How do you ensure the quality of your construction work?

On top of the regulatory inspections required by an independent building certifier, our builder has a very close relationship with each and every home, inspecting elements at various stages of construction. We also have a foreman that oversees the quality of all trades’ work on a week to week basis. We take great pride in the quality of our homes and expect the same of our trades so we ensure that this standard is upheld at all time and in all areas of your development.

What is your construction guarantee?

Your development is covered for any structural work for 6 years from when the work is completed.

For non-structural work, we provide a 12 month warranty from the date of practical completion. This is part of the contract conditions for new home construction. This is a maintenance period where we are happy to come back and rectify any unlikely problems you may have.

If you would like more information on this, you can click here.

When we hand over your development to you we also give you a large folder (one for every unit – for each buyer) that contains all the paperwork related to your home. These include guidance and instructions for caring for and maintaining the elements of each dwelling. It also contains:

  • Information about moving in, including setting up your electricity, solar, gas bottles and council bins
  • Home Warranty Insurance information
  • Certificate of Final Inspection (certificate of occupancy by independent building certifier)
  • Information about maintaining your termite protection
  • Contact details for relevant trades that you can contact if any issues should occur in that area
  • Warranties for all the inclusions in your home
  • Any other relevant documentation we think might benefit you to have



Structural – e.g. leaking roof, leaking shower, health and safety issues

Non-structural – e.g. sticking doors or windows, minor cracking of plasterboard.

How do I get my development title registered once construction is completed?

Before a new lot can be sold (settled), it has to be created and its title registered.

Following the building’s final inspection, the process is:

1. Ensure all levies and fees are paid up to date with council including the infrastructure charges levied (it is best to pay the infrastructure fees a month or so prior to completion of construction to avoid delays or interest charges).

2. Get the survey plan and CMS completed by your surveyor or lawyer.

3. Submit the plan of survey to Council for plan sealing.

4. Submit the sealed survey plan and CMS for title registration.

5. Settle the sale!

Do you have a question that has not been answered here?
Send your query on our Contact Us page or call 1300 559 503.


Not all homes are built equally! Compare ‘apples with apples’ with our simple quote inclusions checklist so that you can ensure you are getting the best value for your money.

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