Obligation to Provide Written Notice
Clause 19.2 of the HIA Contract requires builders to provide written notice to the homeowner if they are entitled to an extension of time. This notice must be given as soon as practicable and no later than 5 business days after the cause of the delay becomes known.
Timeframe for providing notice
Builders should provide written notice of their entitlement to an extension of time as soon as practicable. Failure to provide notice within the required timeframe may result in the homeowner disputing the extension and potentially withholding payment or taking legal action.
Consequences of failing to provide timely notice
Builders must provide written notice as soon as possible to avoid any confusion or disputes regarding the extension of time. Failure to provide notice within the required timeframe may result in the homeowner disputing the extension and potentially withholding payment or taking legal action.
Therefore, builders should keep a record of all correspondence and communication regarding delays and extensions of time to ensure that they can provide accurate and timely written notice to the homeowner.
Information to Include in the Written Notice
1. Cause of the Delay
The written notice provided by the builder must specify the cause of the delay. This could include any of the reasons outlined in Clause 19.1 of the HIA Contract, such as:
- adverse weather
- delays in approvals
- variations requested by the owner
Builders should provide as much detail as possible to ensure that the homeowner understands the cause of the delay.
2. Estimated Delay Period
Builders must also include an estimate of the delay period in the written notice. This allows the homeowner to understand the extent of the delay and make appropriate arrangements.
Builders should base their estimate on the best available information at the time of the notice and update it as necessary.
3. Date of Practical Completion
The written notice must also specify the date by which practical completion will be achieved. This date may be later than the original completion date due to the extension of time.
Builders must ensure that the new date is realistic and achievable, and provide updates if the completion date changes.
Importance of Record Keeping
Record keeping plays a crucial role in ensuring that builders can provide accurate and timely written notice to homeowners.
By keeping a record of all correspondence and communication regarding delays and extensions of time, builders can easily access the necessary information when providing written notice under Clause 19.2.
This not only helps to avoid confusion or disputes regarding the extension of time but also demonstrates the builder’s diligence and professionalism.
It is important to keep a record of all relevant information, including the cause of the delay, the estimated delay period, and any other relevant details that may impact the extension of time.
Disputing an Extension of Time
Homeowner's right to dispute the builder's entitlement to an extension of time
While builders are obligated to provide written notice of their entitlement to an extension of time under Clause 19.2 of the HIA Contract, homeowners have the right to dispute the extension if they feel it is not justified.
If a dispute arises, it is important to understand the timeline for providing written notice of the dispute and the potential consequences.
Timeline for providing written notice of dispute
If a homeowner wishes to dispute an extension of time, they must provide written notice to the builder as soon as practicable after becoming aware of the delay.
This notice must be given within 5 business days of receiving the written notice of entitlement to an extension of time.
Possible consequences of a dispute
- If a dispute arises, the builder and homeowner may need to negotiate or seek mediation to come to a resolution.
- If a resolution cannot be reached, the dispute may need to be taken to court.
- In some cases, the homeowner may withhold payment or take legal action against the builder.
It is important for both builders and homeowners to understand their rights and obligations under Clause 19.2 to avoid disputes and ensure the timely completion of the project. Seeking the advice of a construction lawyer can help in navigating the complexities of this clause and resolving any disputes that may arise.
How a Construction Lawyer Can Help
A specialist construction lawyer can provide invaluable assistance to both builders and homeowners in navigating the complexities of the HIA contract and resolving any disputes that may arise.
Seeking legal advice before entering into a contract or a dispute resolution process can help to protect your interests and ensure that your rights and obligations under Clause 19.2 are fully understood.
As a 10+ year specialist construction lawyer with extensive experience in advising on this contract and representing clients in court and the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, I can provide expert legal advice and representation. Contact me today to schedule a consultation.