How and When to Pay Your Builder with Progress Payments


If you’re venturing into the world of construction or looking to start your own building business, understanding how and when to pay your builder with progress payments is crucial. In this blog post, we’ll explore the ins and outs of progress payments, including their benefits, the importance of progress payment schedules, and answers to frequently asked questions.

We’re here to help you get prepped for your DB-U Licensing exam with flexible study options, including online and evening classes, to help you achieve your career goals. Let’s dive in and learn more about successful payment practices in the construction industry.

What are progress payments?

Progress payments are a systematic method of paying builders throughout the construction process. Rather than making a single lump-sum payment upon project completion, progress payments allow for staggered payments at various stages of the building process. This payment structure provides financial flexibility for both builders and clients, ensuring that funds are allocated appropriately throughout the project timeline.

The benefits of progress payments

Progress payments offer numerous benefits for builders, clients, and the overall success of construction projects. Let’s explore these advantages:

Financial control and cash flow management

Progress payments enable builders to manage their cash flow effectively. By receiving payments at key milestones, builders can cover ongoing expenses, purchase necessary materials, and pay subcontractors promptly. Clients, on the other hand, have better financial control as they pay for completed work, ensuring transparency and accountability.

Risk mitigation

For clients, progress payments mitigate the risk of upfront payment without any assurance of work completion. Payments are made in line with the progress of the project, providing clients with confidence and reassurance that the work is being performed as agreed upon.

Motivate builders and encourage quality work

Builders are motivated to deliver quality work at each stage of the project when progress payments are involved. Knowing that their compensation is tied to completed milestones, builders strive for excellence and ensure that work meets or exceeds expectations.

How to design an effective progress payment schedule

An essential aspect of utilising progress payments is creating a well-structured progress payment schedule. Here are key steps to consider:

  1. Agree on milestones: Collaborate with your builder to establish clear project milestones that align with significant stages of the construction process. These milestones can include site preparation, foundation completion, framing, electrical and plumbing rough-ins, and final finishes.
  2. Allocate payment percentages: Determine the percentage of the total project cost that will be paid at each milestone. Common industry practice is to distribute payments in proportion to the completed work and associated costs.
  3. Ensure documentation and transparency: Document the agreed-upon payment milestones, percentages, and deadlines in a written contract or agreement. This ensures clarity and transparency for both parties and minimises potential misunderstandings.
  4. Regular communication: Maintain open lines of communication with your builder throughout the project. Discuss progress, confirm milestone completion, and ensure that the work meets your expectations before making payments.

Frequently asked questions

As a future builder and business owner, you likely have questions about progress payments. Here are answers to some common queries:

Can I negotiate the payment schedule?

Absolutely! The payment schedule is negotiable between the client and the builder. Ensure you discuss your preferences and requirements during the initial project planning phase.

What happens if there’s a payment dispute?

In the event of a payment dispute, it’s advisable to refer to the contract or agreement signed between you and your builder. Disputes can often be resolved through open dialogue, but legal recourse may be necessary in some cases.

Is it common for builders to request deposits?

It’s not uncommon for builders to request a deposit upfront to cover initial project costs. However, the amount and terms should be discussed and agreed upon beforehand.

Choose BAA for DB-U Licensing Exam Success

At Builders Academy Australia, we understand the intricacies of the construction industry, including payment practices. Our flexible study options, including online and evening classes, cater to your busy schedule, ensuring you can upskill while pursuing your career. Don’t let financial barriers hinder your learning journey—our tuition fee-free study options enable you to access quality education regardless of your current qualifications.

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