Comprehensive Construction Checklist

Comprehensive Construction Checklist

To help you maintain control over your house construction – and be another set of eyes for mistakes – we’ve put together a comprehensive construction checklist. Some of this you can do, some of this your designer can do.

1. General Building Checks

__ Materials and products match what was specified.

__ Timber is at specified moisture levels on installation.

__ Timber has the correct preservative treatment for its location.

__ The house is set out correctly on the site.

__ Plans and specifications are followed.

__ Materials are installed to manufacturers’ instructions, so you get the warranty.

__ Finished construction is protected from the weather.

2. Early Stages Construction

Earthmoving and excavation

__ Is the hole for excavation staked out correctly?

__ Are the walls vertical and even?

__ Has it gone to the correct depth?

__ Are all cut earth faces supported and “cut in”?

__ Where can this affect neighbouring properties?

Retaining walls

__ Retaining walls must be included in the building consent and signed off.

__ Is the ground supported during construction?

__ Ensure the wall is drained behind and waterproofed/tanked if necessary.

Footings and foundations

__ Footings need to be straight and correctly positioned, though the finish doesn’t have to be smooth.

Drainage and underground plumbing

__ Are the pipes in the correct position, i.e. not where you may want to put paths or gardens?

__ Are the drain holes or pipe vents in locations that will interfere with future use of the grounds, e.g. where you may want to put paths or entertaining areas?

__ Are the vents in the right position?

__ Will the drains carry sufficient water?

__ Does your drainage system meet the Building Code?

Concrete slabs

__ The concrete is laid on top of several things put in beforehand. There is a layer of compacted base course, a polythene vapour barrier, plumbing pipes and pipes taking electrical and other cable, in-floor heating and polystyrene insulation if required.

__ There are additives that can be applied to the concrete to reduce cracking during or following curing; the concrete can be coloured, polished and/or ground.

__ Ensure the floor is fully laid in one pour and there is no lag between deliveries.

__ Ensure the concrete is cured properly under advice from your builder.


__ Is your builder using scaffolding or approved safety measures for working from heights. If not, they can be fined up to $500,000 and imprisoned for two years.

__ Is the scaffolding secure?

__ Are there safety barriers?

3. Flooring and Framing

Wooden flooring

__ Are the floor joists even and solid?

__ Has the flooring timber been evenly laid?

__ Has the timber been sufficiently seasoned?

__ Are the plywood/chipboard panels secured properly and are they even – is there any movement or squeaks?

__ Underfloor foil insulation is the minimum level of insulation you require under the Building Act but never shy away from increasing your level of insulation.


__ Are the nogs (the cross-bars in the framing) level with each other?

__ Are the studs (the upright timber) as spaced correctly at 600mm?

__ If using timber framing, is the timber sufficiently dry and of the correct preservative treatment?

__ Are the doors and windows correctly positioned and of correct sizes? Are the bracing elements in place?

Brick and block laying

__ Have they been laid even and straight?

__ Is there a satisfactory level of quality finish with no evidence of mortar splashes?

4. Plumbing

__ Will you have adequate water pressure? Discuss with your plumber, designer and bathroomware supplier together if you can – water pressure can be a major source of confusion on installation.

__ Have you worked with your plumber to ensure the pipes will be quiet?

__ Is the bathroom plumbing correctly positioned?

__ Do you have sufficient outdoor taps for hoses wherever you may need them?

__ Are the gas pipes all installed in the correct position?

__ Check the correct filters are in place for pipe size and water pressure.

__ Is the hot-water source close enough to the kitchen/bathroom taps to minimise time lag?

__ Are the nogs (the cross-bars in the framing) level with each other?

__ Are the studs (the upright timber) as spaced correctly at 600mm?

__ If using timber framing, is the timber sufficiently dry and of the correct preservative treatment?

5. Roofing


__ All roofing must be laid straight and true and fixed correctly.

__ Fixings (screws) must be evenly and neatly set out.

__ All flashings, barge boards and ridge cappings must be in place.

__ Do you have a guarantee with the roof?

__ Have you supplied the roof shout?


__ Are the nogs (the cross-bars in the framing) level with each other?

__ Are the studs (the upright timber) as spaced correctly at 600mm?

__ If using timber framing, is the timber sufficiently dry and of the correct preservative treatment?

__ Are the doors and windows correctly positioned and of correct sizes? Are the bracing elements in place?

6. Exterior Envelope

Exterior cladding

__ Is your cladding installer an LBP or being supervised by one?

__ Is the cladding handled and installed as per manufacturer’s instructions with no damaged panels used? (Important – if not, warranties may be void)

__ Are the flashings done correctly and properly waterproofed?

__ Are the joins in panels even and level and regular?

__ If using flat panels, is there sufficient weatherproofing?

__ Are battens used to aid in drainage for water that gets behind the cladding?

__ Is the cladding finished properly so the job looks neat?


__ Avoid decks enclosed by solid walls with a lack of drainage and perhaps a handrail attached to the top of the top of the wall – water cannot drain and the weatherproofing skin may have been pierced by the handrails.

__ Avoid wall cladding materials finished hard down onto a deck surface or paving or paths: the cladding will absorb water from the surface it is finished onto.

__ Avoid wall cladding that extends below ground level or landscaping materials, including mulch, built up against the wall – materials that are continuously damp will quickly deteriorate.

__ Avoid decks that are constructed to the same height as the internal floor, with no fall for drainage, compounded by an outlet that can get blocked.

__ Ensure suspended timber floors have space below the floor for ventilation to remove moisture evaporating from the ground.

__ Avoid using silicon sealant rather than properly designed flashings. Ensure head and sill flashings are installed over windows and joinery.

__ Ensure parapet walls have cap flashings.

__ Kick-outs or diverters to apron flashings where roofs abut a wall surface ensure that water flows into the gutter and not down inside walls.

__ Ensure monolithic claddings and tiled finishes have movement- control joints that allow building movement to occur without cracking the materials.

__ Ensure adequate detailing on junctions between materials.

__ Check the difference in levels between the surface outside and floor inside and/or that there is good drainage – without these the building may well fail to meet the performance requirements of the Building Code.

Window joinery

__ Are the windows and sliders the correct size and design on delivery?

__ Have they been fitted with sufficient waterproofing?

__ Check correct and effective flashing has been installed.

Gutters and downpipes

__ Do the gutters have the correct fall to ensure no pooling of water?

__ Are the gutters installed correctly with overflow relief in case of blockage so heavy rain does not flow into wall cavities?

__ Have you chosen a colour that complements the roof and external colour of the house, and has that colour actually been installed?

__ Are the correct downpipes installed – colour, materials, profile (shape)?

__ Are the downpipes in the correct location so they don’t interfere with external gates or the lines of your home?

7. Behind the Wall


__ Have you got the correct R (heat retention) levels or better?

__ Has it been correctly installed as per manufacturers’ specifications?

__ Ensure there are no gaps – including corners in the joinery – these can reduce efficiency by as much as 40%.

__ Discuss reducing thermal bridging in window framing with designer and builder.

Wiring and lighting

__ Do you have enough power points and in the right positions?

__ Are the power points and light switches installed evenly on the wall?

__ Are the transformers correct for the types of lights you have installed?

__ Are the lights selected correct for the specific job you want them for?

__ Are the light fittings in the correct position for the tasks you wish to undertake or the ambience you want?

__ Has the electrician created holes for the lights in the correct position?

__ During installation, has the electrician installed the correct lights in the right places in the right way?

Phone and broadband wiring

__ For new homes or major renovations are you installing structured cabling in a ‘star’ configuration, with each outlet wired back to a home distributor box?

__ Do you have phone / broadband outlets in all areas? A double RJ45 outlet is recommended for bedrooms and other normally occupied rooms, with multiple outlets in the lounge, rumpus room and study.

__ Are you using Cat5e cable or better?

__ Is the computer cabling run separately to the electrical wiring?

__ Ultrafast Broadband is rolling out around the country – have you taken advantage of supply in your area, and do you have the right technical set up at home?

8. Interiors

Interior Lining

__ Have you checked with alternative wallboard suppliers to ensure you have the best product and best price for your project? (You don’t necessarily need to use the default product specified)

__ Is the wallboard handled and installed as per manufacturer’s instructions with no damaged panels used?

__ Ensure framing is dry and straight. The use of thicker 13mm plasterboard with metal ceiling battens helps provide a straighter ceiling.

__ Wall sheets should be fixed horizontally, as horizontal joints are less visible.

__ To reduce the visibility of any imperfections use light colours and flat paints or textured wallpaper and avoid lighting that strikes a wall at a shallow angle.

__ Use light shades or recessed downlights and position windows away from the edges of walls and ceilings or use shades.

__ Plastering of the joins is critical, especially in ceilings in open- plan living areas – a single large ceiling is almost impossible to get completely flat but a poor job will be obvious and bug you for years.

__ Do you have the correct panels for specific rooms; e.g. waterproof in the bathroom, fire-rated in the kitchen, sound- proof in the bedrooms?

__ Are they even and undamaged?

__ Ask what level of finish is being done? (see our Product Selection section here for more information)

Interior and exterior painting

__ Ensure correct paints are used in areas like kitchens and bathrooms, doors and window frames.

__ Look for sloppy work and make sure it is cleaned up. Ensure angles are cut in to keep lines sharp.

__ s the preparatory work of a sufficient standard – filling holes, touching up plaster sanding, use of correct undercoats?

__ Are the paints being used the brands you specified or cheaper alternatives?

__ Have the painters got the correct colours as specified?

9. Kitchens

__ Is the benchtop the correct size? If not, negotiate with your kitchen manufacturer to replace or discount.

__ Are cupboards installed above the bench fitted properly to the ceiling and/or walls?

__ Are powerpoints installed at correct locations and with fittings that minimise intrusion onto benchspace or tight spaces?

__ Ensure workmanship on joinery is an acceptable standard, with well-fitted joins and hardware.

10. Bathroom

__ Don’t forget ventilation and heating, especially underfloor heating. The room must be able to be fully dry within 30 minutes.

__ Check that sufficient waterproofing is done.

__ Ensure all glass is of correct NZ standard.

__ Check tiles for chipping after laying and after other major items installed so damaged tiles can be replaced.

11. Heating and Air-Conditioning

__ Do you have sufficient heating units for your new home?

__ Have they been correctly installed as per manufacturers’ specifications?

__ Is the gas flued to reduce moisture build-up inside?

__ Have you considered the trade-off between purchase price and running cost?

12. Outdoor


__ Have you discussed the fence with your neighbour?

__ Has the correct grade of timber been used?

__ Are the vertical posts installed solidly and evenly?

__ Is the fence the correct height or do you need to get building consent?


__ If solid deck attached at the wall, is the drainage sufficient?

__ Check where decks attach to walls to ensure the proper procedures are followed and weather tightness is achieved.

__ Have attachments to walls been done properly?

__ Is the deck rated to hold sufficient people?

Rubbish removal

There will be rubbish left behind by the tradespeople and sub-contractors. Specialist companies can dispose of this in an environmentally sound manner. Please conbtact me via email at, call me directly on 0272 751 555 or through the contact me page.