Most people don’t give this a second thought, but did you know it’s easy to get sued when selecting the design for your home?
You may have been told you only need to change a design by 20% to avoid copyright infringement… but nothing could be further from the truth.
Here’s how many people fall into this trap: they get a free drawing from a new home builder and then want to make sure they aren’t getting ripped off, so they get other builders to quote on it.
The problem is, once they have shown the design to another builder (even if the new builder creates a completely different option)…
If they use any of those ideas, it’s copyright infringement.
Hard to believe, right?
And it gets worse. Believe it or not…
The Builder that Owns the Design Can Sue and Even Halt Construction on a Project that’s Already Underway
This can lead to massive cost blowouts you will be liable for depending on which country you are based. For instance, the Australian Copyright Council goes as far as to say this:
“If you decide not to build from that plan, it is advisable not to show that plan to anyone you subsequently ask to draw a new plan for you. If the second person does see the earlier plan there may be an inference that person has consciously or subconsciously copied original elements of the earlier plan.”
So how do you avoid this predicament?
First, while you may be excited about getting the design of your home finalised first… Don’t do it.
Instead, you must decide on a home builder before you begin the design process.
Talk to lots of people.
Check out the online reviews.
Meet with your builder and ask them lots of questions.
Remember, it’s worth taking the time to do this, because choosing the right home builder over the wrong one can save you a ton of headaches later.
And when you do decide on a new home builder, make sure you choose one that does both Design and Construct – rather than just one who simply quotes on other people’s plans.
Don’t Shortcut This Process or You Could Live to Regret it
Take Max for example (I’ve changed his name for obvious reasons).
On the 7th April, 2009, he approached a builder in Brisbane who we’ll call Joe.
Max spent 6 months and $5,000.00 working on a design with Joe.
But then, he thought he’d get clever, covering up the builder’s name and copyright statement on the design and taking it to another builder.
He got a quote and signed a contract.
6 months later, all hell broke loose when Joe found out, sending a letter to Max threatening to place a caveat on the property and halt construction.
The end result:
Max was Advised by His Lawyer to Settle Out of Court for a Six Figure Sum
Yes, Max saved $15,000 on his contract, but he ended up paying significantly more later.
So if you’re thinking about showing a drawing by one builder to another, ask yourself…
Am I feeling lucky?
Because the downside could be ten times worse than any money you save.
And that’s just one of the mistakes you can make. To discover other issues that most people are oblivious to, all of which can end up costing you thousands of dollars, click on the link below and download our guide on the 7 Things You Must Know Before Designing A New Home.