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Building Disputes

When building disputes occur, they can be very stressful, time consuming and very expensive to resolve within the Court.

Why Disputes?

Most disputes arise because people do not understand the responsibilities a building contract places on the part of the home owner and on the part of the builder. Often misunderstandings involving; building costs, quality of work, variations or changes to the work, time periods to completion, and the work that will actually be performed, are all common disputes.

I have a Dispute. How do I resolve it?

First, approach the other party with the aim of resolving the issues amicably. Should this fail, The Building Centre can refer you to a specialist Home Building Solicitor or a Qualified Building Consultant to mediate between the parties to afford a resolution. This service is designed to determine the issues in the dispute or if a breach of the law has occurred and what options are available to resolve the complaint. Most common reasons for employing this service are: building defects, incomplete work or damage as a result of the builder's or contractor's work.

This service extends to providing practical, expert advice on preventing or resolving problems between you and your builder or tradesmen such as communication breakdown, disagreement about variations to the original contract or problems with workmanship to name a few.

Often by engaging an independent expert, the problem can be diffused or resolved, avoiding costly delays, added friction or changing the whole tone of the working relationship. It is always preferable to 'nip in the bud' a potential problem.

An experienced Building Consultant will visit the site to learn about the problems then initiate a resolution. Your contract, drawings and specifications will be reviewed, so that an expert and impartial opinion can be formed as the basis of resolving the problem. We encourage you to take advantage of this service in order to avoid the stopping of work and potentially very costly legal action.

To get an obligation free quote on Advice and Inspections, call us on 1300 884 876 or complete the Inspection Quote Request online.

Unresolved Building Disputes

Should a dispute be unresolved, the various states offer a Dispute Resolution Service.

In New South Wales
If you and your contractor cannot resolve the problem, you should contact 'The Office of Fair Trading' and request Dispute Resolution Assistance. They may refer you to HoBAS (The Home Building Advisory Service) to assist you further. If the process put in place by 'The Office of Fair Trading' is unresolved, an application to the Tribunal - i.e. "Consumer, Trader & Tenancy Tribunal" (CTTT) would be your next step. The necessary Expert Reports for the Tribunal can be provided by our network of Buildings and consultants.

Complaints can be made to 'The Office of Fair Trading' if the building work is less than seven years old and the builder is not responding to the defective work.

In Victoria
Building advice and conciliation is provided through the 'Building Advice and Conciliation Victoria' (BACV). This service provides free advice to assist you and your builder to reach agreement and resolve a dispute. Where a dispute is unresolved, you may seek independent legal advice from a specialist building solicitor, or take your case to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

The Building Commission of Victoria encourages you that if you have concerns about your building project, it is a good idea to contact BACV earlier rather later as issues are simpler to resolve before they are compounded by further work. To make a complaint, you will be required to complete a complaint form supplied by Consumer Affairs Victoria.

In Western Australia
the 'Building Disputes Tribunal' has legal authority to resolve most building disputes and workmanship complaints where contracts are between $7,500 and $500,000. Prior to lodging a complaint with the Building Disputes Tribunal you are required to supply your builder or contractor with a prescribed form detailing your complaint. The 'Building Disputes Tribunal' issues information packs including the correct form to be used to notify the builder of the complaint.

Building and workmanship disputes with a contractual value of less than $7,500 may be referred to the Department of Consumer and Employment Protection. Homeowners are required to notify the builder or contractor prior to contacting The Department of Consumer and Employment Protection. The Department will require a copy of the letter you supplied to the builder or contractor.

To get an obligation free quote on Advice and Inspections, call us on 1300 884 876 or complete the Inspection Quote Request online.


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