Domestic Handover Process

If you’re working for a developer, and they want to sell the properties you are building and get people moved in asap, it can overlap with construction activities and create an unsafe environment. We developed this process for a client doing groundworks for park-homes, but it can be applied to any sort of development where the client might be a bit quick to move in…

This page includes:

  • Arrangements for management of handover
  • Letter template to ensure that the client is aware
  • Pre-handover checklist

Arrangements for Management of Property Handover

Clear Communication with the Client:

Discuss your concerns with the client regarding safety and the potential for moving in residents before the site is ready.

Emphasise the legal and reputational risks involved in allowing residents to move in prematurely.

Propose a more realistic timeline for when plots can be safely handed over.

Contractual Agreements:

Review your contract with the client to ensure it includes clauses that prevent the handover of plots before they are deemed safe.

Consider including penalties for early move-ins that compromise safety.

Regular Updates and Progress Reports:

Provide the client with regular updates on the progress of construction.

Clearly indicate when each plot is expected to be safe for move-in.

Safety Certifications:

Implement a procedure where each plot receives a safety certification before being handed over.

This could include checks for safe access, completion of necessary utilities, and ensuring no hazardous construction activities are ongoing nearby.

Liaison with Local Authorities:

Ensure all work complies with local building codes and regulations.

In some areas, final inspections by local authorities are required before a new residence can be legally occupied.

Contingency Planning for Buyers:

Work with the client to develop a contingency plan for buyers who might be left temporarily homeless.

This might include temporary accommodations or financial compensations.

Public Relations and Communication Strategy:

Prepare a communication plan to inform potential buyers of the safety measures and timelines.

This transparency can help manage their expectations and reduce frustration.

Insurance and Liability:

Review your company’s insurance policies to ensure coverage for any potential liabilities.

Consider advising the client to have appropriate insurance in place as well.

Documentation:

Keep thorough records of all communications, safety checks, and certifications.

Document any instances where the client insists on early move-ins against your advice.

Seek Legal Counsel:

Consult with a legal professional to understand the full scope of your legal obligations and rights in this scenario.

Employee Training:

Train your staff on how to handle situations where unauthorised individuals enter the construction site.

Emphasise the importance of safety and compliance with company policies.

Letter Template

[Your Name] [Your Position] [Your Company Name] [Your Company Address] [City, State, Post Code] [Email Address] [Phone Number] [Date] [Client’s Name] [Client’s Position] [Client’s Company Name] [Client’s Company Address] [City, State, Post Code]

Dear [Client’s Name],

I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to discuss our ongoing project at [Project Name/Location], particularly concerning the timing and safety protocols related to the move-in of new homeowners.

Firstly, I want to express our appreciation for your continued trust in [Your Company Name] to carry out this significant project. We are committed to ensuring that the development of this site is completed to the highest standard.

However, we have become increasingly concerned about the potential safety risks associated with allowing new homeowners to move in before the completion of essential safety measures. As you are aware, the safety and well-being of all individuals on site, including new homeowners, is of utmost importance. We have a legal and ethical obligation to ensure that each plot is fully safe and compliant with all relevant regulations before occupancy.

In recent instances, we have noted that move-in dates have been communicated to homeowners before we have completed necessary steps such as ensuring safe access, finalising utility connections, and completing nearby construction activities. This premature occupancy could pose serious safety risks and potentially expose our companies to legal liabilities.

To address these concerns and ensure a smooth and safe transition for the homeowners, we propose the following:

Safety Certification for Each Plot: We will implement a procedure to issue a safety certification for each plot, confirming that all safety checks have been completed and the plot is ready for occupancy.

Realistic Timeline Communication: We will provide you with a detailed and updated timeline for the completion of each plot, which can be used to inform potential homeowners of realistic move-in dates.

Contingency Planning: In collaboration with your team, we would like to develop a contingency plan for homeowners who might face temporary housing challenges due to changes in move-in dates.

We believe these steps will significantly contribute to a safer and more organised transition for the new homeowners while protecting all parties involved from potential risks and liabilities.

We are eager to discuss this matter further and come to an agreement that prioritises safety and ensures the successful completion of our project. Your understanding and cooperation in this matter are crucial and much appreciated.

Please feel free to reach out to me at your earliest convenience to discuss this proposal or if you have any other suggestions or concerns. Our team is fully committed to working collaboratively with you to find the best solutions for the success of this project and the satisfaction of all stakeholders involved.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to your response and to continuing our productive and successful partnership.

Warm regards,

[Your Name] [Your Position] [Your Company Name]

Plot Handover Safety Checklist

Project Information:

Project Name:

Plot Number:

Address:

Handover Date:

Basic Utilities and Services:

Electricity Connection: Checked and functional.

Water Supply: Connected, tested for quality and pressure.

Gas Supply (if applicable): Connected and leak test passed.

Sewage and Drainage Systems: Fully operational and tested.

Heating and Cooling Systems (if applicable): Tested and operational.

Telecommunications and Internet (if applicable): Services installed and operational.

Structural and Construction Safety:

Foundation and Base: Inspected and free from cracks or damage.

Steps and Access Points: Securely installed and safe.

Roof and Exterior Walls: Inspected, secure, and weatherproof.

Windows and Doors: Fully operational, secure, and lockable.

Interior Walls and Ceilings: Complete and undamaged.

Floors: Stable, even, and free of tripping hazards.

Roads and External Environment:

Access Roads: Completed and safe for vehicle access.

Pathways and Pavements: Finished and clear of hazards.

Landscaping: Completed or safe interim measures in place.

External Lighting: Installed and operational for safety.

Drainage: Adequate external drainage to prevent flooding.

Health and Safety Compliance:

Fire Safety Measures: Smoke detectors installed and functional, fire extinguishers present (if required).

Emergency Exits: Clearly marked and unobstructed.

Hazardous Materials: No hazardous materials present or appropriately contained.

Construction Debris: Cleared from the plot and surrounding area.

Safety Signage: Appropriate signage installed (if necessary).

Legal and Regulatory Compliance:

Building Codes: Compliance with local building codes.

Inspection Approvals: All necessary local authority inspections completed and passed.

Environmental Regulations: Compliance with environmental regulations, including waste disposal and wildlife protection.

Final Checks:

1. Customer Walk-Through: Offer a walk-through to the client/buyer for final inspection.

2. Operational Demonstration: Show functionality of utilities, appliances, and systems.

Documentation Handover: Provide all necessary documents, warranties, and manuals.

Feedback and Queries: Address any immediate queries or feedback from the client/buyer.

Emergency Contact Information: Provide contact details for post-handover support or emergencies.

Sign-Off:

Inspector’s Name:

Signature:

Date:

Client/Buyer’s Acknowledgment:

Name:

Signature:

Date:

Please note – the above is only provided as a guide and we recommend you get proper advice before implementing this.

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