Domestic Building Work

Get help with your domestic building contract before you sign it or whilst it is on foot, your domestic building dispute, defects to the works, terminating your domestic building contract, how to project manage your domestic building project, make a negligence claim or insurance claim for anything relating to your domestic building works.

Domestic Building Disputes

If you don’t know what your rights are regarding domestic building works you will have no idea how to protect them. Whether you are a builder, an owner, a developer of contractor who has undertaken works or has had works undertaken the next choice you make regarding how to deal with your dispute may cause you more loss than envisaged.

What goes wrong?

Domestic building disputes often occur as a result of lack of knowledge regarding your rights and obligations, misunderstanding, variation claims, failure to comply with the domestic building contract, delays in completion of the works, defects in the works, not claiming the stage prescribed in the building contract, one party wrongfully refusing to pay the other, lack of understanding or clarity with regards to the scope of the works, protection works issues, not knowing that the works are domestic building works and the list goes on.
Whether you win or lose your case will all depend on how you have prepared your evidence and whether based on that evidence you have a strong case to claim. Winning your case almost always depends on your actions, the evidence that you have prepared and the lawyer you have engaged and whether your case is strategically managed from the beginning. Start with the end in mind and ensure your lawyer isn’t narrow thinking.
When is a win not really a win at all? Legally everyone that has undertaken any domestic building works over $16,000 is required to provide insurance to the owner or developer (whether it’s the Building Surveyor or the Engineer or even the Plumber but they need supply insurance for over $750 only and their insurance is claimable by the Builder too). In the end you don’t want to spend more in legal fees than what you recover therefore to ensure that this isn’t done we prepare for your entire case at the beginning so there are no surprises and provide you with the advice you need when it matters most, at the start of your case.

How do you manage your situation?

If your domestic building contract is currently on foot and where the other party has failed to comply with the contract, whether it’s a result of being charged for an illegal variation or failing to receive payment, or whether a contractor is causing delays in completion, the only option you have is to get advice with regards to you liabilities and obligations pursuant to your contract (or lack of contract in some cases). In almost every case the only option one may have is to look at enforcing ones rights pursuant to their Domestic Building Contract and using the mechanisms available within their contract do force the hand of the other party. Terminating a contract should be taken seriously and with it comes many legal risks. Always consult a lawyer for advice.
Everyone always thinks they are right because they don’t know any better. You will never know how strong or weak your current position is and what options (or what evidence you need) you have until you have consulted a lawyer. Building and Construction Law is a highly specialised area of law which requires knowledge of not only contract law but legislation, insurance law, common law, the law of equity and a vast combination of other areas of law and life skills, critical thinking and outcome focused problem solving in order to engineer an outcome. Your position could be much stronger if you knew what the outcome would be five moves ahead.
Most people think about either fixing the problem now without thinking about the consequences of that choice later. Choices made without thinking or consulting an expert is usually whether most disputes occur and where things go wrong. Save a penny and you will lose a pound as we all know it’s usually ones attempt to fix an issue is when things go from bad to worse. The early intervention of an experienced building and construction and insurance law firm, like Boutique Lawyers, might dramatically improve you outcome and in most cases save you a pound.

What are your options?

In most cases if you do nothing your situation wont improve and in most instances will get worse. You could miss the boat on the limitation period in order to sue or claim against the other party or make a claim pursuant to an insurance policy ( which you may not know exists and this applies whether you are the contractor, builder or owner/developer) to recover your losses.
Taking action yourself is always an option, but almost always the action taken ends up costing more in losses or errors. In almost every case money is left on the table, rights are signed away and liabilities taken on without knowledge, one ends up paying for something you shouldn’t be paying for or where a quick cost effective option was available but not taken. Engaging a lawyer without the specialised knowledge is also a risk. At the very least in order to save you in the end get legal advice at the beginning of your dispute or before you have one, this could save you thousands in legal fees and losses later.
Whether you have a contract or not or whether your problem has occurred or otherwise, a building and construction lawyer could save you from being sued, serious financial loss or from signing away your rights. Investing at the beginning in legal advice should be considered when budgeting and when running a business. Prevention is better than cure but if a dispute occurs acting quickly with the right advice can prevent further issues from occurring.

What are your likely outcomes?

Contractors come and go. Insurance coverage periods expire. Statutory claim periods pass by. In each case, you are left to deal with the problem and may incur significant costs to solve the problem.
You might win. Some people get lucky and do. It’s much more likely that you’ll waste a ton of time and effort, only to end up with nothing to show for it. Insurance companies love unrepresented litigants.
You’re far more likely to get the compensation you are entitled to. Building and construction lawyers have the expertise and experience needed to ensure the best possible outcome for you, which is getting the compensation you deserve.

What you should do now