Comsec released their quarterly State of the States report this
week confirming what many of us were suspecting: Sydney is
In NSW, construction work completed in the June quarter was up
20.6% on the decade average and was 12.7% higher than it was a year
Unfortunately, an increase in building rates may mean increased
disputes between builders and clients. Building or renovating your
own home is an exciting, creative and often once in a lifetime
experience. Given the importance of such an event, it is extremely
worthwhile having an understanding of what to do if things go
During the course of a build, it is not hard to imagine how
disputes and disagreements between a client and builder may arise.
If a builder believes they are entitled to a certain payment under
the contract, and a client disagrees, the parties may find
themselves at loggerheads. This scenario is all too common in
residential building disputes.
No matter whether you think you are right or wrong, here are
three important tips to remember if you find yourself in this
Don't take any actions that may put yourself at risk of
incorrectly terminating your building contract. Disagreeing on a
course of action does not necessarily give you the right to make
threats against the builder, close the construction site, terminate
the contract or order everyone to stop work. You could be putting
yourself at financial risk by doing this.
Don't Waste Time.
In NSW, the Home Building Act states the NSW Civil and
Administrative Tribunal (the Tribunal) may determine residential
building disputes where the amount claimed is less than $500,000.
In the event that your builder makes an application to the
Tribunal, it is important that you seek legal advice from an
experienced solicitor as soon as possible.
The Tribunal aims to resolve matters quickly, for the benefit of
all parties. As a result, there is often a lot to prepare in a
short amount of time in order to ensure you are protected legally
and financially. Remember, involving lawyers in your dispute does
not prevent you from coming to resolution with your builder quickly
and in the event that this is not possible, an experienced
commercial litigation solicitor will be able to guide you through
Don't Ditch the Pen
The building process can be long and will undoubtedly involve
mountains of communication between builder and client. Outcomes of
disputes may depend on what was said in a conversation, sent in a
text, or replied to in an email. As such, it is worth keeping a
record of all building-related correspondence. Of course it is
inevitable and important that conversations will happen face to
face. In these circumstances, make sure that both yourself and your
builder understand what is being agreed to and follow these
conversations with an email or letter summary.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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A lessee will need to demonstrate that the genuine interests of the lessor will be protected if relief is granted.
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