Defining the length of a construction period is not such a simple matter as it might appear. It is critical that you read your building contract carefully as the construction period probably does not commence from the date of contract signing.
In order to determine the construction period, you need to make sure that you are referring to the building contract, and not the Preparation of Plans Agreement, or preliminary work contract.
During these times of extensive time delays, the wording of some contracts may have been adjusted to reflect current industry conditions. While the date of contract signing might be the starting point of the construction period, most contracts specify that the construction period does not commence until a short time after all necessary approvals and licenses are obtained. Alternatively the construction period could be deemed to commence when on-site work begins. Check your documents thoroughly to determine your starting reference point.
Some contracts do not explicitly state a construction period. However, if there are lengthy delays which could be interpreted by a court of law as being unreasonable, there may be legal ways to terminate the contract. However, this is not an easy route to go down.
You should also be aware that the builder is usually entitled to claim extensions of this construction period should unforeseen circumstances arise that are beyond the builder’s control and which could not be anticipated at contract signing.
The clear message is to read and understand your building contract carefully before signing it so that you have no unexpected surprises and false expectations about how long your home will take to build.