It is common for disputes to take place when you are in the process of building or renovating your home. These disputes may be minor or major. Major disputes often require the intervention of specialised building disputes lawyers in order for a resolution to be reached. Often the cause of these disputes are building defects however, they may be disputes about interpretation of the contract or procedural steps under the contract. This discussion revolves around building defects disputes.

If there is a major defect, call us to discuss the matter and direction that should be taken.

If your matter is regarding a major defect in the building (click this link), we recommend seeking legal advice before meeting with your builder to discuss it. We can assist you with explaining your rights under the Home Building Act 1989 (NSW). Further we can advise you and assist with the steps below.

See steps 1 to 4 below if the defect is minor.

Step 1 – Talk about the matter with your builder

It is recommended that you discuss the matter with your builder in an amicable manner in order to keep the relationship viable. This is particularly important if the works under the contract are not finished.

Step 2 – Always record discussions and agreements that have taken place with your builder

These records do not need to be extensive, however they should detail what was actually discussed during meetings. It is also beneficial to maintain communication channels through email as this ensures that you have records of any dealings that have taken place.

Step 3 – Contact the NSW Department of Fair Trading and make a complaint against the builder

If discussing the defect with your builder has not resolved anything, the next step is to contact the Department of Fair Trading, in which enables you to make a formal complaint against a builder.

The Department of Fair Trading may then appoint an inspection who examines the alleged defects and then makes a finding. If the Inspector finds that the works are free from defect or are of acceptable quality, they may conclude that the builder is not liable for the matter.

If the finding is in your favour, the inspector will attempt to mediate in order to resolve the building dispute and may order the builder to rectify the defect.

Step 4 – File an application with NCAT

If the above steps have not resulted in a resolution for your dispute, the next step is to lodge an application with the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Note that before contacting NCAT you must ensure that you have consulted with the Department of Fair Trading.

NCAT can hear disputes concerning home building works up to the value of $500,000.00

Act sooner rather than later as there are statutory time limits under the Act. Click here for further information on these statutory time limits.

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