Developing your suburban block

Putting two dwellings on one suburban block needs an agreement between the owner, the developer and/or the builder which sets out each person’s contribution, role and expected outcome.   Sometimes, but not always, the developer is the builder.

Remember the developer and/or builder wants to make a profit and you, the owner, want a new house. Therefore, it’s important to remember that throughout the entire build, you’ll want to protect the standard of the construction you get and still leave enough profit in it for the developer.

The joint venture agreement should reference both a fully detailed building contract (what kind of taps do you want?) and a separate contract for the sale of land.


Remember, land is cheapest when it is vacant.

The usual agreement is for the developer/builder to pay all costs when the owner provides the land for the development. Make sure the developer pays the cost of the sub-division, planning and building permits and costs of construction. Once you start to build, costs and potential disputes may escalate. You and your builder have certain rights when it comes to your project.

Your contract should help you avoid a number of hazards you may never have considered. It’s important that detailed specifications are included as part of the building contract. These may include:

  • Who’s going to pay your rent and storage costs if the builder goes belly-up during the development and can’t finish the build?
  • What carpets and bench tops do you want in your new house?

If you are given documents for this type of development, we can help you make sure you are protected.

We understand domestic building contracts and have been helping developers since 1979 – we can help you too! Speak with us today.


This article provides information that is general in nature and is not a substitute for legal advice.