Building or renovations can be a stressful time for you as you wait to see your dream home or building come to life and unfortunately things may not always go to plan. Disputes may arise between you and your builder or tradesperson. However there are a number of steps that you can go through to help resolve these disputes.

The most important thing to remember is ensuring that you maintain positive communication with your builder or contractor. Positive communication will minimise the risk that issues go unresolved.

However, If the issue goes unresolved between you and your builder, NSW Fair Trading can assist as they deal with building related disputes in instances where there is:

  • Incomplete or defective home building work
  • Damage caused to other structures as a result of home building work being done
  • Specialist work (electrical wiring, plumbing, gas fitting or air conditioning/ refrigeration) including non residential buildings

Home Building work refers to work to construct, alter, repair, renovate, extend, decorate or treat a dwelling.

Talk about it

It is important that you discuss your concerns as you become aware of a problem. It may be a simple misunderstanding that can be quickly fixed by your builder. If your dispute is in regards to quality of work you can refer to the Guide to Standards and Tolerances.

 Write a Letter

Subsequent to your conversation with your builder, confirm in writing the details you have discussed including what is to be completed and by when. Upon writing the letter date and send to your builder as you may require this if your dispute remains unresolved.

Contact Fair Trading

If your dispute remains unresolved either you or your builder may contact the office of Fair Trading to assist in resolving the dispute, although both parties must agree to attempt a resolution. Builders, developers, owner-builders and tradespeople must warrant that, among other things that their work has been performed with due care and diligence.

By law a home owner or subsequent purchaser has certain time frames to enforce these warranties. For contracts signed after 1 February 2012 the warranty period for major defects is 6 years and 2 years for all other defects. For contracts signed prior to 1 February 2012 the statutory period was 7 years for all building defects.

Notify Your Insurer 

To protect your position under your Home Building Compensation Fund insurance policy, if you become aware of defective or incomplete work, you must immediately notify your insurer in writing of necessary information about the nature and circumstances of the loss.

Building Inspections

Fair Trading Building Inspection process is designed to help resolve disputes. The role of the inspector is to assist in you and your builder/contractor to come to an agreement about how to resolve the dispute. The inspector may issue a Rectification order if builder needs to rectify the matter. However, the inspector may also conclude that the builder is not responsible for the alleged defect.

If you have any issues with your builder and defects to your home or building our team of lawyers at The Quinn Group will be happy to assist you. Please Contact us on (02) 9223 9166 or submit an online enquiry form today