In a building or construction project, many things can go wrong. Here are just some of the possibilities:
- Plans lack critical detail and specifications, leading to varying interpretations.
- High and often unrealistic expectations that are seldom communicated well.
- Contractors have undertaken projects of high complexity and risk.
- Deliberately or accidentally omitted quotations.
- Limited financing capacity and lack of contingency plans.
- Time constraints.
- Mistakes and error in building work due to poor workmanship.
Why you need to avoid building disputes
Building disputes have a habit of getting ugly and can escalate to litigation. The truth is no one wants to be taken to court as it costs time and money and further delays the building project. This is why you will want any disputes resolved as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
Top 5 tips to resolve building disputes
1. Communicate with the other party and aim for a resolution
Try your best to settle any disputes among yourselves. You can engage a skilled mediator to help you and the other party come to a voluntary binding decision.
2. Send a complaint letter
If face to face communication is not possible or practical, draft a detailed letter of your complaints. Make sure you include dates and any actions you have agreed upon and send your letter to the other party.
3. Engage an unbiased and licensed building inspector
A professional building inspector can conduct an inspection and prepare a report on the details and specifics of your complaint. the building inspector can advise whether your claim has merits. They can also act as a mediator between disputing parties.
4. Lodge your dispute with the NSW Fair Trading
Licensed builders and tradespeople in NSW can lodge a dispute with Fair Trading and access their dispute resolution service. Consumers may also file a dispute and seek Fair Trading assistance. Both parties need to agree to contact NSW Fair Trading regardless of who will lodge the dispute.
5. File your complaint to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)
If you were unable to settle your dispute with NSW Fair Trading, you could file your application complaint to NCAT. The jurisdiction of the Tribunal will allow parties to make claims to a value of $500,000, as per the Home Building Act 1989.