Building disputes and steps you can take to resolve them

Legal Practitioner Director Paul D’Angelo talks about Building Disputes.

There has been a sudden increase in Commercial cases regarding building disputes. We attribute this to the increase in economic confidence, which has the flow on effect of more construction projects taking place. Disputes normally arise because of contractual differences or a breach, construction defects, and / or timeliness.

Examples include:

  • A builder not delivering a finished project within a set time frame
  • Defects in the quality of the workmanship
  • The quality of the fixtures and fittings are not what was agreed to
  • A breach of contract for not delivering something that was stated in the contract. 

Imagine you are renting while your new house is being built. If a builder does not complete the construction on time, then you will have to continue to rent and thus pay more rent. It has been well documented in the media that finding a good rental properly in Perth can be difficult and expensive. What if your landlord decides not to extend your lease? Who will cover the moving costs, possible storage costs, and short-term accommodation costs?

There are a number of steps to take to resolve a building dispute:

  1. Go to the builder direct and try to resolve the issue through discussion and negotiation.
  2. If you can’t find a resolution, go to The Building Commission.  At this stage, you can also seek the advice of a Lawyer. It is definitely a good idea to see a Lawyer if the dispute is very complex, difficult, or has a high value.
  3. If the Building Commission isn’t able to resolve the dispute, then the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) will set a date to hear the dispute. It is strongly recommended you have legal representation at a SAT hearing.

Going through The Building Commission and the SAT makes the process of resolving the dispute a lot faster.

Before signing a contract, it is prudent to have a Lawyer look over the contract to ensure that your terms, conditions and desired outcomes are clearly stated and that the builder will be held accountable for failure to adhere to delivery of what has been promised.