Expert Building & Construction Lawyers

Our expert Building Lawyers will ensure you make contracts you understand, avoid foreseeable problems and resolve disputes cost effectively.

With most building disputes it is important to seek advice from an experienced Building & Construction Lawyer as soon as it appears likely that a dispute will arise.

Home Building Act NSW

The Home Building Act (NSW) implies a number of conditions and warranties into any contract for residential building work. The Act also provides that a contract to which the Act applies must be; in writing, contain prescribed information and particulars and be signed and dated by the parties to it. (see below)

Significantly, the Home Building Act provides that:

  • where a Contract for Residential Building Work is not in writing or does not have a sufficient description of the work the builder is not entitled to damages or to enforce any other remedy in respect of a breach of the contract.
  • where Insurance under the Home Building Compensation Fund is required a builder is not entitled to demand or receive payment of any money or carry out residential building work unless a policy of  Insurance is in place and a copy of a Certificate of Currency in respect of that insurance has been provided to the home owner.

Contracting Requirements under the Home Building Act (NSW)

Some requirements under the Home Building Act apply to all Contracts for Residential Building work and others depend on the value (or price) of the works.  Click on the link below to learn more:

Contractor Licence Requirements

The Home Building Act also makes it an offence for a tradesperson to do any of the following work without a Contractor Licence:

  • Residential building work where the total cost of labour and materials is more than $1,000.00,
  • Electrical wiring work,
  • Plumbing, draining and gas fitting work, and
  • Air conditioning and refrigeration work (except plug-in appliances).

Where a Contractor Licence is required but not held the builder or tradesperson is not entitled to damages or to enforce any other remedy in respect of a breach of the Contract.

Call now to speak to a Home Building Lawyer

1300 553 343

 

 

 

Need an Answer Fast?

With most building disputes it is important to seek advice from an experienced Building & Construction Lawyer as soon as it becomes apparent that a building dispute has arisen. For new home owners, this usually means before you take possession of your new home.

How We Help

Our expert Building Lawyers will ensure you make contracts you understand, avoid foreseeable problems and resolve disputes cost effectively.

We help Builders, Contractors and Home Owners:

  • negotiate and make effective Contracts for Residential Building Works,
  • understand and evaluate their rights and options in the event of a dispute,
  • resolve disputes by negotiation, and
  • pursue or defend their rights in proceedings before a Court or Tribunal.

Often strict time stipulations are contained in building contracts or apply where the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act applies to the work.

FAQ’s for Builders

FAQ’s for Home Owners

  • My house is incomplete and the builder is delaying, what can I do?
  • How to resolve disputes about residential building defects?
  • Can the Department of Fair Trading force my builder to perform rectification work?
  • When can I claim the costs of getting another builder to finish a job or rectify defects?
  • When can I recover compensation for delays?
  • What are the statutory warranties implied under the Home Building Act?
  • What are the limitation periods for bringing a claim for breach of a statutory warranty?
  • A builder made promises to me during negotiations that aren’t in the contract, what can I do?
  • Do all building disputes have to be determined by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)?
  • When can I claim under a policy if insurance under the Home Building Compensation Fund?

Call now to speak to a Building Lawyer

1300 553 343

Home Building Law
23/01/2018 by Amanda Crosbie

My house is incomplete and the builder is delaying, what can I do?

If works to your home remain incomplete after the period that the contract stipulates works ought to be complete, then it is likely that the builder is in breach of the contract. Most contracts will require that a home owner give the builder a notice particularising the breach and provide that the builder has a […]

Home Building Law
21/01/2018 by Ned Mortensen

How to resolve disputes about residential building contracts.

Disputes as to the timeliness, quality, value and compliance of works in residential building contracts are all too frequent. Commonly, relatively simple disputes get out of hand quickly as emotions run high and parties seek to “hit the other where it hurts”. Home owners refuse to pay and builders refuse to build. If you’re a […]

Building & Construction Law
6/06/2017 by Amanda Crosbie

Common Misconceptions about Contracting in the Building & Construction Industry and what to do to avoid getting caught out.

When I ask clients whether a written contract was in place or whether variations had been documented, too often I receive the following response “no there was no contract, we just agreed to it” or “I didn’t think it was necessary it was a small job“. Firstly, it is an incorrect assumption that just because […]

Building & Construction Law
12/07/2016 by Amanda Crosbie

Consequences of failing to comply with the Home Building Act.

The Home Building Act 1989 (“the Act“) places obligations upon contractors who contract directly with home owners to undertake residential building work. We have summarised these obligations in further articles contained on our website. See Introduction – Contracting Requirements under the Home Building Act. Consequences of contravening the Act Pursuant to Section 10 of the […]

Building & Construction Law
21/01/2016 by Sam Roberts

Introduction: Contracting Requirements under the Home Building Act

Among other things, the Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) (“the Act“) regulates the contracting requirements for any person making a contract to undertake ‘residential building work‘. Importantly, these requirements apply equally to any contract variations. The contracting requirements set out below apply to contracts entered into on or after 1 March 2015. Consequences of Non-Compliance […]

Building & Construction Law
8/02/2016 by Sam Roberts

Requirements Applicable to All Residential Building Contracts

The following contracting requirements apply to all contracts for residential building work under the Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) (subject to applicable exemptions). Deposit The maximum amount of a deposit that may be demanded or lawfully received for residential building work is 10% of the contract price (Section 8). Statutory Warranties The following warranties are […]

Building & Construction Law
8/02/2016 by Sam Roberts

Residential Building Contracts where the Price Exceeds $20,000.00 (incl. GST)

The following contracting requirements apply to contracts to do “residential building work“where the contract price or (if the contract price is not known) the reasonable market cost of the labour and materials involved exceeds $20,000.00 (inclusive of GST) by virtue of the Home Building Act 1989(NSW). Consumer Building Guide Before entering into a contract the […]

Building & Construction Law
10/02/2016 by Sam Roberts

Residential Building Contracts where the Price Exceeds $5,000.00 but not $20,000.00

The following contracting requirements apply to contracts to do “residential building work” where the contract price or (if the contract price is not known) the reasonable market cost of the labour and materials involved exceeds $5,000.00 (inclusive of GST) but not $20,000.00 (inclusive of GST) by virtue of the Home Building Act 1989(NSW). Contracting Requirements […]

Building & Construction Law
10/02/2016 by Sam Roberts

Residential Building Contracts for Works less than $5,000.00

There is no prescribed contracting requirements where the contract price or the reasonable market cost of the labour and materials involved is less than $5,000.00 (inclusive of GST). However, it should be noted that: The maximum deposit that may be claimed remains 10% (Section 8). The statutory warranties will still be implied into the contract […]

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Success Stories

Failure to document Contract Variations lead to suspension and termination dispute. Unlicenced builder defeats $370,000.00 damages claim for cost to complete. Judgement for builder with indemnity costs.

The client was a residential builder who had contracted to build a large residential premises for approximately $695,000. Shortly after the the works commenced the owner instructed the builder to perform a number of significant variation that meant that the cost of the works would increase by approximately $280,000.00.

First home buyers gets the better of builder involved in house and land package promotion. Misrepresentations and hand amendment to building contract lead to substantial cost saving.

The clients were looking at new house and land packages with the view to purchase for their own residence. They met with a selling agent for a project home builder who showed them a site within a new subdivision and provided a promotional brochure showing a split level home that they were told could be built on the site for a cost of $230,000.00. The vacant land was for sale by the project home builder for $160,000.00.

View all success stories