Construction Lawyer & Building Solicitors Sydney | Contracts Specialist Law Firm

Building lawyer icon – Building Dispute Lawyer Sydney | Contracts Specialist

Building Dispute Lawyer - Sydney

We help you resolve any building or construction dispute that you may encounter. Whether it’s a residential building disagreement or a broader construction project issue.
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Our Building and Construction Dispute Lawyer is an expert in the field, ready to enforce your legal rights in Sydney, AU.

Our specialist construction law firm has observed a significant rise in both building and construction disputes in Sydney, attributed to the ongoing construction boom. These disputes, whether centred on residential properties or larger construction projects, have become more frequent and complex.

For a comprehensive understanding of building disputes, you can explore our main guide on Building Dispute Sydney. Additionally, if you’re interested in alternative dispute resolution methods, our article on Navigating Building Dispute: Conciliation & Mediation provides valuable insights.

Disputes in the construction industry, whether labelled as building or construction, can emerge when a party involved in a construction contract doesn’t uphold their legal or contractual obligations. These disagreements can range from residential building issues to broader construction project challenges. It’s essential to understand the distinction:

  • Building Disputes: Typically revolve around residential properties, such as homes or apartments. They might involve issues like poor workmanship, delays, or breaches of contract specific to home building. For more details on this, our article on Residential Building Dispute Australia offers a deep dive.
  • Construction Disputes: These are broader and can encompass large-scale projects beyond residential properties. They might involve disputes over commercial properties, infrastructure projects, or other significant construction endeavours. The complexities in these disputes can be due to larger teams, more extensive contracts, or the sheer scale of the project

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.

For those dealing with documentation issues in disputes, understanding the Importance of Documentation in Resolving Building Disputes can be crucial.

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How a specialist building and construction lawyer can help with your building dispute

Understanding Construction Disputes:

While building disputes often focus on individual homes or small-scale projects, construction disputes can be multifaceted. They might involve multiple parties, including contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and even governmental entities. The disputes can arise from:

  • Delays in project completion
  • Breaches of construction contracts
  • Issues with construction permits or regulations
  • Disagreements over project specifications or changes in project scope

Given the complexities, it’s crucial to have a legal expert well-versed in both building and construction law. Our team is equipped to handle disputes of any scale, ensuring your interests are protected.

Contracts Specialist can help contractors facing building disputes in Sydney

Some Building and Construction Disputes our
Construction Law Firm can help you with

Residential Building Disputes

Residential or home building refers to any building work done by a contractor or tradesperson, such as:

  • the construction of a new home 
  • the alteration or renovation of a dwelling such as building an extension to an already existing home or structure 
  • updating a bathroom or kitchen. 

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

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.

For those navigating the complexities of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, our guide on NCAT Building Dispute FAQs can be a valuable resource.

The dispute may be between:

  • a building owner and a building contractor 
  • two or more building contractors 
  • a building owner or a building contractor, and architects, engineers, surveyors, quantity surveyors, electricians or electrical contractors, or suppliers and manufacturers of materials used in the building work 

Payment Disputes and Variations

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.

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) and Court Proceedings

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 construction 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.

Contract Termination

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.

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Top 3 causes of building disputes we deal with

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.

Wrecked home due to bad workmanship can results to Sydney building dispute | Contracts Specialist

Poor Builder Workmanship

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:

  • installing products and materials incorrectly 
  • water leaks and faults in waterproofing that only come up after a strong rain 
  • damaged electrical wiring 
  • tiling or plumbing problems 
  • incorrect water-to-cement ratio 
  • cracks in walls and foundations 
  • poor concrete compaction 
  • concrete spalling 
  • use of materials of unsatisfactory quality 
  • work not compliant with drawings and specifications of a construction contract 

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.

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Slow, incomplete and abandoned work

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.

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Overcharging and disputes about variations

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.

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Contracting parties resolving building disputes | Contracts Specialist
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Here's how our Building and Construction Dispute lawyer can help you

Building and Construction Dispute Lawyer - John Dela Cruz

We only work on Sydney construction law matters so you can be confident you are getting the right advice. We work on building and construction 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.

Court house where a building lawyer in Sydney resolves disputes | Contracts Specialist

We will inform you of your legal rights. 

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We can help enforce your right in the New South Wales Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) and the courts.

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We can enforce and defend your contractual rights including terminating your contract with the other party.

You can be confident that you are getting
the right legal advice.

Contracts Specialist is a Sydney-based construction law firm that deals with Building Disputes, Construction Contracts, Debt Recovery, and Security of Payment. With Contracts Specialist, you are ensured that you are in good hands.

Working hours

8am - 8pm Monday to Friday
(Phone until 18:00 Hrs)
Friday - 8:00-18:00

We are here

100 Harris St, Pyrmont, NSW 2009, Australia
Phone:+02 8096 8576 I Call us 24/7 for urgent matters

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The Complete Handbook for Homeowners: Navigating Construction Law in New South Wales

If you’re a homeowner in New South Wales, it’s crucial to understand Construction Law to protect your investment. This ultimate guide to Construction Law is specifically designed to provide homeowners with essential insights into the legal landscape of home building in NSW.