Understanding the Scope of Work

When engaging a contractor, it is essential to have a clear and detailed contract outlining the scope of work required. This includes a detailed description of the work to be done and the materials required, as well as the time frame for completion and the agreed price. In the case of Oikos Constructions Pty Ltd v Ostin, the court found that the contractor’s scope of work could be extended to include work not specifically included if the person for whom work is done expressly made known to the contractor the particular purpose for which the work was required. This outcome arises by virtue of the implied statutory warranties set out in section 18B of the Home Building Act. Therefore, it is important to communicate your expectations and requirements clearly to the contractor, and ensure that these are reflected in the contract.

The Importance of Statutory Warranties

Under the Home Building Act, a homeowner is entitled to certain statutory warranties that protect them in case the work performed by the contractor is defective. These warranties include:

  1. A warranty that the work will be done with due care and skill.
  2. A warranty that the work will be done in accordance with the plans and specifications.
  3. A warranty that the work will be done in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.
  4. A warranty that the work will be fit for the purpose for which it was intended.
  5. A warranty that the materials used in the work will be good and suitable for the purpose for which they are used.

These warranties are implied by law, and a homeowner is entitled to them regardless of whether they are specifically included in the contract. If a contractor breaches any of these warranties, the homeowner can take legal action to recover damages.

The Importance of Due Diligence

To avoid construction disputes, it is important to conduct due diligence on any contractor you engage. This includes checking their credentials and qualifications, as well as their track record of completing similar projects. You should also obtain references from previous clients and check their licensing and insurance details. By doing your due diligence, you can ensure that you engage a contractor who is reliable and competent, reducing the risk of disputes.


If you’re facing a construction dispute, remember to protect your interests by understanding the contractor’s obligations and statutory warranties under the HB Act. Having a clear and detailed contract, communicating your expectations, and doing your due diligence on the contractor can all help avoid disputes. 

Seek legal advice from a building dispute lawyer to ensure you receive compensation for any defective work. By taking these steps, you can safeguard your investment and ensure a successful construction project without unnecessary stress.