Our specialist construction law firm has noticed quite a substantial increase in building disputes in Sydney because of the current construction boom. That’s why lots of clients come to our building lawyer with various stories and situations they want to be dealt with.
A building dispute can arise when a party to a construction contract fails or is perceived to have failed, to comply with their legal or contractual obligations to a contracting party. This can be a builder breaching a construction contract that he has with a homeowner or client, or it can be the over way around.
Builders and contractors sometimes forget that they are responsible for building dream homes of clients. On the other hand, some homeowners can have extremely high expectations for budgets that just don’t fit them.
Construction is definitely a big investment, and disputes that lead to lengthy court proceedings can cause so much stress and cost so much money to all to the parties involved. So getting the right legal advice from a building dispute lawyer early on and managing such disputes efficiently can help minimise the impact they have on a construction company’s profitability and a homeowner’s construction goals.
How a specialist building and construction lawyer can help with your building dispute
Residential or home building refers to any building work done by a contractor or tradesperson, such as:
Our building dispute lawyer has extensive experience and knowledge in handling residential building cases. That’s why you can be assured that we have handled a case similar to yours.
Commercial Building Disputes happen when a consumer, contractor, subcontractor or other building industry professional has a complaint related to domestic or commercial building work.
This can be about an unpaid debt, the performance of the work, about the construction contract for the work, or a claim of negligence, nuisance or trespass other than a claim for personal injuries.
The dispute may be between:
A variation refers to any adjustments made to the scope of works in a construction contract. Details may be added, substituted or omitted from the original scope of works. All variations must be in form of writing.
However, there are times when builders do not follow the proper procedure, so when they ask to be paid more money, the clients or homeowners refuse to do so. In some cases, homeowners expect results that are way beyond their budget.
As an expert in construction law, our building dispute lawyer knows how to navigate through such situations. We will go over your construction contract and see what can be done to rectify the situation.
Depending on the amount claimed by you in your building dispute, the proceedings may be commenced in the New South Wales Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT), the District Court of New South Wales or the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal settles disputes between consumers and traders, including home building disputes up to $500,000. If parties to a building dispute cannot settle the dispute through the prescribed process under the construction contract or through Fair Trading’s assistance, the building dispute may be escalated to the NCAT.
Contract Specialist can assist you with this. Because the NCAT requires parties to submit applications and cross applications, submit their evidence and appear before hearings.
Our building dispute lawyer is very familiar with the tribunal and court proceedings. We can advise clients on the legal steps you will need to take, help prepare you for the process we will undertake, and work towards a favourable resolution for your situation.
Contracts Specialist will go over the details of your legal situation and see exactly what type of breach of contract was made. We will present all your options to you and help enforce your legal rights. This can include terminating your construction contract with the other party.
Our construction lawyers in Sydney have more than 10 years of experience dealing with construction law matters. Here is an overview of the top three causes of building disputes we have been helping homeowners with.
With the Sydney construction boom happening, construction defects claims are also on the rise. A major concern is poor workmanship by contractors and builders. Poor workmanship refers to the lack of quality and skill put into a construction project. If builders are not mindful of the quality of their work and do not follow specifications of use the wrong materials, the finished product can lack the quality that the homeowner expects.
Defective work is in breach of a construction contract by failing to maintain a specified standard or quality or is a breach of any implied warranty. Often times, the failure of building structures are due to poor workmanship and subpar quality control processes in a construction site.
A building defect is work undertaken that either has failed or is not in compliance with the Building Code of Australia as well as Australian Standards.
Contractors should execute specifications as stated on the construction contract and be mindful of the quality and expertise put into a project. They should make sure that they are up to code. Neglecting such vital details will most probably result in expensive repairs, building disputes, and lawsuits, especially since defective work can lead to injuries or even death.
Here are some examples of defective work and poor workmanship by builders:
Most construction contracts also say that all payments are “on account” – meaning, even if the builder has been paid and the owner later finds that works are defective, the owner may recover the payments previously made.
The builder may also be required under the contract to remedy the defective works. If the builder fails to remedy the defective work within the time required, the owner may engage another person to carry out the remedial works and later recover the costs from the builder.
In some building disputes, clients complain that there are building works that have not been completed as per their construction contract.
Incomplete works usually give rise when a building contract has been terminated by either party. Building disputes happen when the builder suspends the works without proper notice or cause. Late completion is primarily a contractual matter between the homeowner and the builder.
If there are delays in the construction project, the builder must keep the owner informed and should take steps to negotiate any contractual adjustments that need to be made.
All types of variations to a home building work contract must be in writing. Most construction contracts will contain provisions that address the event of a builder not meeting the agreed date for completion.
And in some cases, a builder just completely abandons the project. The builder stops the works and does not return to the residential building, thus leaving homeowners in an undesirable position, baffled about what to do next.
Abandonment occurs when a builder is no longer able to perform or complete the work stated in their construction contract. Without a valid, legal excuse, this can make a contractor responsible for reimbursing the owner for any costs incurred as a result of the situation.
Suspicious project breakdowns, excessive use of materials, and disagreements to cost, nature and extent of works are some other causes of building disputes that our construction solicitors regularly encounter.
A variation (sometimes also called as variation instruction, variation order or change order) is a modification to the scope of works in a construction contract. It can be in the form of an addition, substitution or omission from the original scope of works.
Disagreements about these variations are common causes of building disputes in Sydney. Should there be changes to the construction plan, ideally the builder should keep the owner informed and will negotiate any contractual adjustments that need to be made- be it an extension of time and what not.
All variations to a home building work contract must be in writing. But this is not always the case, thus our construction lawyer handles these legal cases and tries to find them the best and most cost-efficient solution.
We only work on Sydney construction law matters so you can be confident you are getting the right advice. We work on building dispute cases day in and day out, and we have most probably handled a case with similar circumstances to yours. We will use our experience and expertise to guide you through the process.
We will inform you of your legal rights.
We can help enforce your right in the New South Wales Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) and the courts.
We can enforce and defend your contractual rights including terminating your contract with the other part.