Construction Lawyer Melbourne

Building Dispute Lawyer – Melbourne

We help builders and homeowners around Melbourne resolve building disputes and provide quality legal services.

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We are Building Solicitors who will enforce your legal rights and help you resolve building disputes

Melbourne is a city in the Victorian state where the building and construction industry is in its prime. Hence, becoming one of the most expensive cities to build worldwide.

There’s no doubt that in a city where the building industry has grown bigger, building disputes can be rampant. It could be disputes caused by disagreements, variations, payments, work quality, and so much more. For these reasons, construction laws across the state must be in its maximum enforcement and construction lawyers should be accessible to all kinds of builders, contractors and homeowners.

This is what our Building Dispute lawyers in Melbourne exist for. We make sure we’re accessible and give our clients the best service they deserve.

What our Building Dispute Lawyer can help you with

Residential or home building refers to any building work done by a contractor or tradesperson, such as:

  • the construction of a new home 
  • the alteration or renovation of a dwelling such as building an extension to an already existing home or structure 
  • updating a bathroom or kitchen

Our building dispute lawyer has extensive experience and knowledge in handling residential building cases. That’s why you can be assured that we have handled a case similar to yours.

Commercial Building Disputes happen when a consumer, contractor, subcontractor or other building industry professional has a complaint related to domestic or commercial building work.

This can be about an unpaid debt, the performance of the work, about the construction contract for the work, or a claim of negligence, nuisance or trespass other than a claim for personal injuries.

The dispute may be between:

  • a building owner and a building contractor 
  • two or more building contractors 
  • a building owner or a building contractor, and architects, engineers, surveyors, quantity surveyors, electricians or electrical contractors, or suppliers and manufacturers of materials used in the building work 

Payment issues are one of the most common causes of building disputes. These include late payments, short payments or non-payments. All of these are subject to the Security of Payment Act – legislation that ensures that contractors and suppliers are receiving progress payments.

A variation refers to any adjustments made to the scope of works in a construction contract. Details may be added, substituted or omitted from the original scope of works. All variations must be in the form of writing.

However, there are times when builders do not follow the proper procedure, so when they ask to be paid more money, the clients or homeowners refuse to do so. In some cases, homeowners expect results that are way beyond their budget. 

As an expert in construction law, our building dispute lawyer knows how to navigate through such situations. We will go over your construction contract and see what can be done to rectify the situation.

These disputes can be caused by disagreements between the two parties. That’s why it’s important that both are in total agreement while forming the building contract and must always consult with a legal expert to review the contract.

Contracts Specialist will go over the details of your legal situation and see exactly what type of breach of contract was made. We will present all your options to you and help enforce your legal rights. This can include terminating your construction contract with the other party.

Building dispute cases may not automatically or immediately be brought to the higher courts. This can be resolved in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal or VCAT for a faster and cheaper legal process of settling disputes.

But if things escalate into a bigger situation or no resolution came up through VCAT, the case can be brought to the courts.

Top 3 Causes of Building Disputes We Deal With

Our construction law firm has over 10 years of experience in construction law and has dealt all sorts of construction matters day in and day out. Here’s an overview of the top causes we help our clients with.

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Poor Builder Workmanship

With the Sydney construction boom happening, construction defects claims are also on the rise. A major concern is poor workmanship by contractors and builders. Poor workmanship refers to the lack of quality and skill put into a construction project. If builders are not mindful of the quality of their work and do not follow specifications of use the wrong materials, the finished product can lack the quality that the homeowner expects.

Defective work is in breach of a construction contract by failing to maintain a specified standard or quality or is a breach of any implied warranty. Often times, the failure of building structures are due to poor workmanship and subpar quality control processes in a construction site.

A building defect is work undertaken that either has failed or is not in compliance with the Building Code of Australia as well as Australian Standards.

Contractors should execute specifications as stated on the construction contract and be mindful of the quality and expertise put into a project. They should make sure that they are up to code. Neglecting such vital details will most probably result in expensive repairs, building disputes, and lawsuits, especially since defective work can lead to injuries or even death.

Here are some examples of defective work and poor workmanship by builders:

  • installing products and materials incorrectly 
  • water leaks and faults in waterproofing that only come up after a strong rain 
  • damaged electrical wiring 
  •  tiling or plumbing problems 
  • incorrect water-to-cement ratio 
  • cracks in walls and foundations 
  • poor concrete compaction 
  •  concrete spalling 
  • use of materials of unsatisfactory quality 
  • work not compliant with drawings and specifications of a construction contract 

Most construction contracts also say that all payments are “on account” – meaning, even if the builder has been paid and the owner later finds that works are defective, the owner may recover the payments previously made.

The builder may also be required under the contract to remedy the defective works. If the builder fails to remedy the defective work within the time required, the owner may engage another person to carry out the remedial works and later recover the costs from the builder.

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Slow, Incomplete and Abandoned Work

In some building disputes, clients complain that there are building works that have not been completed as per their construction contract.

Incomplete works usually give rise when a building contract has been terminated by either party. Building disputes happen when the builder suspends the works without proper notice or cause. Late completion is primarily a contractual matter between the homeowner and the builder.

If there are delays in the construction project, the builder must keep the owner informed and should take steps to negotiate any contractual adjustments that need to be made.

All types of variations to a home building work contract must be in writing. Most construction contracts will contain provisions that address the event of a builder not meeting the agreed date for completion.

And in some cases, a builder just completely abandons the project. The builder stops the works and does not return to the residential building, thus leaving homeowners in an undesirable position, baffled about what to do next.

Abandonment occurs when a builder is no longer able to perform or complete the work stated in their construction contract. Without a valid, legal excuse, this can make a contractor responsible for reimbursing the owner for any costs incurred as a result of the situation.

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Overcharging and Variation Disputes

Suspicious project breakdowns, excessive use of materials, and disagreements to cost, nature and extent of works are some other causes of building disputes that our construction solicitors regularly encounter.

A variation (sometimes also called as variation instruction, variation order or change order) is a modification to the scope of works in a construction contract. It can be in the form of an addition, substitution or omission from the original scope of works.

Disagreements about these variations are common causes of building disputes in Sydney. Should there be changes to the construction plan, ideally the builder should keep the owner informed and will negotiate any contractual adjustments that need to be made- be it an extension of time and what not.

All variations to a home building work contract must be in writing. But this is not always the case, thus our construction lawyer handles these legal cases and tries to find them the best and most cost-efficient solution.

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Here’s How our Building Dispute Lawyer can assist you

  • We will inform you of your legal rights
  • We can help enforce your rights in the VCAT and in the courts
  • We can defend and enforce your contractual rights including terminating your contract with other party