Building and renovating: permits and processes

Choosing a builder or contractor

This page has information on choosing a builder in the Northern Territory. You only need a registered building contractor for some residential work.

Work that requires a registered builder

You must use a registered builder for prescribed building work. Read about prescribed building work.

You can also read about residential building work that requires a permit.

Find a builder

You can ask for informal recommendations from friends, family, or other building professionals.

You may be able to find a builder by looking through the Yellow Pages and in newspapers.

You can also search online or look at the following trade indexes:

Research your builder

You can get information about companies and individuals from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Search the free registers on the ASIC website, use an ASIC-approved information broker or visit an ASIC service centre.

Read more about avoiding dubious operators and reducing your chances of being scammed by going to ASIC's MoneySmart website.

You can also check a list of inquiries conducted and disciplinary actions taken against building practitioners by the Building Practitioner’s Board. Go to the Building Practitioners Board website to view disciplinary actions.

Ask for a quote or estimates

Get at least three quotes from different builders to make a fair comparison of prices.

Be aware that there is a difference between a quote and an estimate.

Estimates are given when a builder does not know the exact scope of works. Estimates are not binding, and you may end up paying more.

Make sure you ask for itemised quotes that detail all the work to be done, the materials to be used and the cost of each.

Quotes become a legally binding contract when you accept the offer and any conditions, whether verbally or in writing.

Get a contract

Contracts that meet minimum set standards are only compulsory for some types of residential building works.

Even if you don’t need a contract by law, you should still ask your builder for one for any building work. It may be useful later if you need to review the builder’s work or if you have a dispute about the work.

If there are any changes to your project during construction, you should make sure these variations are updated in your contract.

Read about signing a residential building contract.

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Last updated: 12 May 2021

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