The Building Stages and What to Expect

Building a new home? Are you aware that there are many stages in the build process that are signed off by a building surveyor throughout the build phase?

I work with many clients who are building their home and one of the questions that I get asked many times over is what happens throughout the build. ‘How do I know what happens at each stage and what should I expect’?

It’s really worthwhile to have a basic understanding of the build stages, so you know roughly what will happen at each step. It keeps you on your game as well, as you know what you may need to organise at each stage.

Here is a high level summary of the build stages are;-

The Five Build Stages

Base Stage

The slab and the foundations are laid and the site is prepared to have the slab poured. The plumbing pipework is also laid, as they sit beneath the slab. There can be a delay once the slab is cut as the concreter will have to wait for a day without rain to pour the concrete.

Frame Stage

The second phase is what we call frame stage. The frame is completed, be that timber, SIPS panels (structured insulated panel systems), or steel. The house starts to take shape at this stage. Critical for frame stage are any niches that you may be having that need to be framed out, for example, a recessed vanity mirror or a shower niche. Any built-in pelmets that you want for your blinds and curtains need to be framed out too, and anything that affects the frame or structure needs to be built at this time.

Lockup Stage

The third stage is lockup stage, and also includes what is called ‘rough-in’. Lockup is a large piece of the actual build. It is when all the windows and the doors are installed and they are secure, and the external cladding is on.

Normally at lockup the garage door would also be in place, but this is not always the case. The rough-in takes place at this stage. This is where the walls are still open, there’s no plaster, and it is still at the frame. The basic lines for any cabling for the electrics, plumbing pipes including your gas connection, heating ducts, and cooling is all laid.

Lockup is a really important stage in terms of your selections as so much is being prepared before the plaster is installed, so make sure you have everything selected and ready to go!

Fixing Stage

Fixing stage is where all the internal cladding (such as plaster), cabinetry, insulation, doors, skirtings, architraves, and waterproofing for wet areas and tiling is all installed. This is also when things really start taking shape, and you can see it all coming together.


The final stage of the build is completion and is also known as ‘fit-off’. This is when trades such as the electrician, carpenter, and plumber will come back and fit-off the light fittings, light switches, taps, showers, door hardware and locks, and bathroom accessories. The painting is also completed, the floors are sanded and the carpets are installed.

This is the stage where you complete your final inspection with the builder or the site manager.

It’s then time to get the keys, and what a feeling that is! Make sure you have insurance before you get the keys, because all responsibility sits with you once they’re in your hands.

‘Your Forever Home’ Book – Free Access

Keen to know more? I have dedicated a whole chapter to the Five Build Stages, building contracts and the tender process in my book ‘Your Forever Home’. Order your copy here.

And remember if you’d like to receive the first three chapters of the book ‘Your Forever Home’ for FREE, download it here.