When a construction defect leads to a building dispute, any resolution will need to rely on the numerous pieces of legislation, rules, standards and codes that govern the construction industry in New South Wales.
One particular piece of legislation, the Home Building Act 1989, is critical for parties involved in a residential building dispute. This act determines the rights, responsibilities and obligations of owners, builders and developers in relation to residential construction. It can be very difficult to determine how the rules set out in the act apply to a given building dispute. Strict time limits also need to be adhered to.
Navigating such a complex process requires the assistance of highly skilled and experienced legal professionals. Gavel & Page construction lawyers and contract lawyers are extremely capable and can help you resolve any type of building dispute.
The Home Building Act 1989 (the Act) has been amended a number of times over the last few years, with the most recent changes taking effect in January and March 2015. The Act includes a host of provisions for residential construction works, such as:
Most importantly, the Home Building Act enforces strict time constraints on homeowners and Owner’s Corporations to commence an action against the builder or developer and to notify insurers of any defects or incomplete works. The time limits may vary depending on the nature of the defect and when the works were completed, so professional legal advice is recommended.
The act also stipulates that the parties involved in residential construction work have a written contract in place and that the builder obtains Home Owner’s Warranty Insurance if the work is valued at or over $20,000. This insurance protects the owners, Owner’s Corporations, and their successors should the work undertaken be incomplete or defective.
Owners should be aware, however, that the Home Owner’s Warranty Insurance is a policy of last resort. The builder or developer involved in the building dispute must be pursued first, and the insurance is triggered only if the builder dies, becomes insolvent or disappears. In the meantime, strict time limits still apply for notifying insurers of any such pending or potential claim.
If the matter cannot be resolved amicably, proceedings will commence, usually via the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). NCAT covers claims up to $500,000. Beyond that, the District Court is responsible for claims up to $750,000, and the Supreme Court handles any larger amounts.
NCAT has its own range of procedures for commencing an application, preparing evidence and progressing the building dispute to a final hearing. The entire process can be quite complex, emotionally straining and tricky. An experienced practitioner can advise you and guide you to an effective conclusion.
Gavel & Page can:
Our expert team has the experience and knowledge to see you through any type of building dispute. We deliver a winning strategy and proactively pursue your case to a successful conclusion while always communicating with you in a clear and meaningful manner.
We are driven by a desire for successful outcomes, not the bottom line. We, therefore, remain flexible on cost while ensuring the highest possible standard of work.
We are also able to assist you if you are the builder or developer involved in a building dispute. This will involve different considerations and strategies:
It is often prudent to facilitate discussions with the complaining party early to narrow the issues in dispute or resolve the proceedings entirely. If the building dispute cannot be resolved through simple discussion, we can undertake all necessary action to protect your interests. Gavel & Page can:
Negotiating a building dispute in accordance with the Home Building Act can be as confusing for builders and developers as it is for homeowners and Owner’s Corporations. Many changes have taken place over the years, including but not limited to:
Whether you are the homeowner or builder, if you are involved in a building dispute, our expert team of construction lawyers has the experience and knowledge to see you through the entire process, which can otherwise be daunting and stressful.
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