The building and construction industry in Australia has a high degree of regulation and is unfortunately an area where disputes frequently arise. Beck Legal’s litigation team advise on all types of commercial and residential building and construction disputes. We are across the Building Act, the Domestic Building Contracts Act, and the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment (Amendment) Act and we have proceeded with disputes in the recently established Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria (DBDRV). We know how to get disputes resolved, and our team stays on top of the changes in the laws and the decisions handed down by VCAT.
Litigation gets expensive fast, so our team will always initially adopt a resolution focussed approach to any dispute to try to achieve an amicable resolution without the need for tribunal or Court intervention. We will provide you with a number of options as to the way forward upfront, including estimates of costs and our recommendations, so that you can make an informed commercial decision.
Our Construction and Domestic Building Dispute Services
We act for builders, property owners, subcontractors, architects, surveyors, engineers and owners corporations across Victoria. In our experience, most disputes arise due to the parties not having understood the contract terms and their obligations upfront. For example, a builder may be expecting the property owner to have completed certain pre-build works however the property owner may be expecting the builder to do this. It is important that all contracts are prepared and customised based on your intentions, and you understand exactly what your obligations, risks and exposure are. If you are a builder or other service provider, you need to consider what security to take in order to reduce the risk of you having to chase your client for payment. Even if you do get your contract reviewed, disputes can still arise.
The most common disputes that we advise on include:
- Changes to the scope of works and variations to the price;
- Delays and extension requests;
- Quality of the works and defects, including defects liability periods and liability for defects where multiple contractors are working on the one project;
- Breach of warranties;
- Special conditions;
- Latent conditions;
- Progress payments;
- Insolvency and loss of property under the Personal Property Securities Act;
- Calculation of the cost of constructing the foundations, prime cost and provisional sum allowances;
- The “builders margin”, if one is included in the contract;
- Responsibility for connecting utilities;
- Payment claims in breach of the Domestic Building Contracts Act;
- Compliance with the Domestic Building Contracts Act;
- Calculation of damages, such as for late completion, breach of warranties and general damages (such as damage caused to property and inconvenience);
- Invalid or unlawfully terminating the contract.
Why Beck Legal?
Dispute resolution requires a team of lawyers with the experience, skills and track record to properly advise on each aspect of the dispute and litigation process and provide you with commercial and strategic advice on how to handle the matter to achieve the outcome you are looking for.
If you would like more information about construction and domestic building disputes get in touch today.