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The ultimate glossary of terms about home building

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When you’re building a new home it’s easy to get lost with the language builder’s use. Managers, contractors, and tradies are so used to talking in trade-speak that they forget not everyone understands the local language. From financial jargon to construction terms, there’s a lot to take in when it comes to building terminology. 

In this article, we will cover the below terms about home building so you can follow the conversation at your next meeting. 

  1. First Homeowner's Grant
  2. Financial pre-approval
  3. Building development approval
  4. House and land packages
  5. Pre-fab
  6. Custom build
  7. Design guidelines
  8. Build guarantees
  9. Drawdowns
  10. Lock-up 

First Homeowner’s Grant

Designed to help first-time homeowners to purchase their first house sooner, the Queensland First Homeowners’ Grant is a government initiative that awards $15,000 to eligible people buying or building a new home for the first time. This financial contribution helps many individuals and couples buy their first home by lessening the deposit they will need for a home loan. Read all the details and eligibility criteria here

Financial pre-approval

Before receiving your formal home loan, most lenders will offer you a pre-approval of finances. This usually takes the form of a letter or certificate from the lender confirming that you have the funds to purchase land or a new home prior to signing a contract. Most builders will require you to have pre-approval before offering a tender or quote on a house, especially if it’s a custom build. 

Building development approval

Anyone wanting to build in Bundaberg or elsewhere in Queensland will require a building development approval prior to construction starting. Sometimes called a building permit, many builders will organise this for you as part of the building process, while others will require you to apply for your own development approval from your local council.

House and Land packages

When you’re looking to build your own home, you’ll first need the land to build on. While you can pre-purchase land and then organise your build, a house and land package removes this step – instead of you purchasing the land and the house separately, the builder will buy the land and offer it with the house in one package. This can be a great way for first-time home builders to start out, and will often come in a deal that includes everything you need to move in. 


Popular for their affordability and quick build times, pre-fabricated homes (sometimes called ‘kit homes’ or ‘modular homes’) are pre-designed houses built in simple modular segments. Pre-fab homes are usually built in sections off-site and then shipped and installed on your land progressively. 

Custom build

Unlike pre-designed or modular homes, a custom build lets you take control of the design process. Working in consultation with your builder, a custom build gives you the opportunity to adjust a design to suit your needs, or start a design from scratch. If you’re looking for a truly unique home, a custom build is the way to go.

Design guidelines

While you may be wishing for a 3-storey mega home with a concrete façade, it’s important to make sure that you are allowed to build the home you want on the land you purchase. Common in both new estates and historic suburbs, many blocks of land will come with design guidelines that ensure houses match the desired aesthetic of the area. That isn’t to say your home can’t be unique, but there may be some limitations on your design. 

Build guarantees

Many builders will offer to build guarantees to give you peace of mind throughout the build process. For Bundaberg home builders like us, these include assurances on timeframes, maintenance periods, quote durations and quality of work. An experienced builder will provide their guarantees upfront so that you know exactly what to expect from the moment you start planning your home to the day you move in, and beyond. 


Rather than the bank or lender handing out all the money at a start of a build, or expecting your builders to wait until completion to be paid, most lenders will pay the builders in instalments. This is where drawdowns come into play. At pre-determined stages of the build, the builder will invoice the lender for that stage. The great part about this is that you’ll usually only make repayments on the portions of the build that have been completed, as well as earning interest on your mortgage only on completed stages of the build. 

Lock up

Lock up is the time all new homeowners anticipate – it means your house is completed! Once the house has been built, the final stage is fitting all the doors and windows to secure the premises -i.e. “locking it up”. Once lock-up is complete, your house is ready to be inspected, and you’ll soon have the keys to move in. 


If you’re ready to build your dream home in Bundaberg, as your Bundaberg home builders we’re here to help. Contact us today to discuss your needs and we’ll make sure you understand the process every step of the way.   

About the author

CRJ Designer Homes

CRJ Designer Homes

CRJ Designer Homes is a locally owned, family operated building company. Since being established in 2006, Michael and his wife Gillian have made it their goal to build quality homes at exceptional prices, with inclusions that most would consider as an extra!

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