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On the heels of the Australian Government’s HomeBuilder grant announcement, we thought it timely to catch up with Charlie Egan, Director of Small Projects, to answer some of your questions. Small Projects is a Melbourne-based building company that offers “small projects” a level of expertise and support that would usually be exclusive to large-scale business. As an affiliate of Intracon – an established high-end multi-residential builder – Small Projects is able to realise small building projects with big-budget thinking and resources.

What is HomeBuilder?  

As part of the Government’s economic response to coronavirus, HomeBuilder provides eligible owner-occupiers, including first-home buyers, with a tax-free, time-limited grant of $25,000 to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home. 

What are the eligibility criteria for HomeBuilder? 

HomeBuilder will be available for building contracts signed between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020, with construction or renovation commencing within three months of the contract date. 

To access HomeBuilder, owner-occupiers must meet the following criteria: 

  • you are a natural person (not a company or trust);
  • you are 18 years or older;
  • you are an Australian citizen; 
  • you meet one of the following two income caps: 
  1. $125,000 per annum for an individual applicant based on your 2018-19 tax return or later; or
  2. $200,000 per annum for a couple based on both 2018-19 tax returns or later; 
  • you enter into a building contract between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020 to either: 
  1. build a new home as a principal place of residence, where the property value (house and land) does not exceed $750,000; or 
  2. substantially renovate your existing home as a principal place of residence, where the renovation contract is between $150,000 and $750,000, and where the value of your existing property (house and land) does not exceed $1.5 million; 
  • construction must commence within three months of the contract date

Who will really benefit from this Grant? 

HomeBuilder is forecasted to activate $15 billion in Australian residential construction spending for projects that involve a range of trades, therefore greatly benefiting tradespeople as well as eligible homeowners. 

Are there specific builders that you need to engage in order to be eligible for the Grant? 

Yes, eligible projects will need to be contracted between the homeowner and a Registered Builder. The contract is the test here; it will need to be submitted to the State Revenue Office (SRO) for approval. The SRO will confirm that the contract is consistent with the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995, which can only be issued by a Registered Builder. All works will require a Building Permit, which again requires a Registered Builder.  

What happens if local councils don’t approve building permits in time for the build to take place within the requisite timeframe? 

The HomeBuilder program is aimed at shovel-ready projects. If a proposed design requires a Planning Permit, which requires a formal process, then the HomeBuilder timeline may be too tight. Once an application for a building permit is submitted to the relevant Building Surveyor, the Victorian Building Authority will adhere to their mandatory five-day turnaround to issue the Building Permit. Small Projects can provide high-level Planning and Building Code advice and connect you with Town Planners and Building Surveyors for formal advice. 

Will builders just increase their quote/prices by $25,000? 

The market is a competitive environment. If builders inflate their prices, they won’t successfully secure the project. Now, more than ever, builders and tradespeople are keen to work on as many projects as possible. 

How do I apply for HomeBuilder? 

The SRO will be administering the HomeBuilder program in Victoria on behalf of the Australian Government. The information about how to apply for HomeBuilder has not yet been published on the SRO website (current at time of writing: 22 June 2020). I recommend you monitor the SRO website because this is where the information will be published as soon as it becomes available: https://www.sro.vic.gov.au/news/homebuilder-grants-eligible-owner-occupiers Also, for more information about HomeBuilder, please visit: https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/homebuilder 

Please contact Kay & Burton Concierge on 03 9825 2000 or via concierge@kayburton.com.au to engage the services of Small Projects. For more information about Kay & Burton Concierge, please visit https://kayburton.com.au/concierge.

Small Projects' clients have access to a team of 18 skilled and experienced industry professionals. They're flexible, scaling their support to the project, and adapting along the way so that every project is delivered with efficiency and excellence.

Small Projects want you to use them again and recommend them to all your friends, so a good process is as important to them as a good outcome. Small Projects believes in transparency and honesty; in listening, and open communication.


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