Disputes between builders, trade contractors, architects, designers and consumers may occur for a number of reasons, such as:
- inaccurate or insufficient documentation
- poor communication
- poor quality of work
- delays in supply and construction
- lack of knowledge or experience in the building process
Communication is key when engaging in the building process. Avoiding disputes starts with the selection of the right builder for you. You may want to ask for details of previous clients and research about how they work, communicate and the quality of the service and product they provide. You may also wish to seek your own independent legal advice before you sign a contract to ensure your rights are protected and that if things do go wrong you have adequate protections in place.
Here are some tips to help avoid disputes:
- make sure the people you engage have the skills, knowledge and experience for the work to be undertaken, and that they’re licensed or registered, if applicable
- be certain that all relevant details about the nature of the work, the timeframe for undertaking the work and the costs are explained and documented in writing for all parties
- make sure any discussions about variations to the plans, inclusions, or other contract variations are explained and documented in writing for all parties
- be clear of the role, responsibilities, rights and obligations of those involved, and that they are documented in the contract
- keep communication clear, making sure all parties are kept informed of progress throughout the project and that expectations are managed on both sides
Issues in dispute
If it is looking like you are heading down a path where you will end in dispute, don’t wait, get help early. Whilst there are options available if negotiations between you and your builder break down and work is not completed, resolving the dispute early may result in a better outcome.
As soon as you identify an issue or have a concern, raise this with your builder in writing. Your builder should take steps to address your concerns. If the issues are not resolved and are about building or planning of a technical compliance nature, and construction is still underway talk to your building certifier and consider making a complaint to Access Canberra. The building certifier is appointed by the land owner and not the builder. They work in the interest of achieving compliance with the relevant building and planning laws.
If your concerns relate to your contract, such as issues with payments, quality of inclusions, or communication, you can contact:
Find out more about:
- unit title disputes
- regulation of the construction industry
- licensed practitioner requirements
- building 101
- making a complaint
Contact us for more information.