Building and Construction

Construction & Building Lawyers in Melbourne

We are expert building and construction lawyers who provide practical legal advice and representation to:

  • Property Owners (including home owners)
  • Builders
  • Contactors / Sub-Contractors
  • Property developers
  • Engineers
  • Architects
  • Surveyors
  • Tradespeople

Our construction and building lawyers in Melbourne have expertise in a wide range of matters relating to the building industry, helping land owners, builders, project managers, and others to avoid running into legal difficulties – or otherwise resolve them.

We have practical experience in and around the building industry, which means that our building lawyers understand both the practical side of building issues, in addition, of course, to the legal issues.

New Building Contracts – drafting the Contract

As a builder or contractor, you may require expert input from a construction lawyer in Melbourne into the legal terms of a domestic or commercial building contract. We can draft the contract for you from the beginning or otherwise adapt an existing contract to cater for a particular job.

Contract Review and Negotiation

Domestic Building Contracts are, even in the standard form, complex documents, whether the contract is for a new home or a renovation. Our building lawyers in Melbourne have advised many, many clients about their rights and responsibilities under their building contract. There are many “tricky”” parts in these contracts that can cost you a lot of money and time later if not thought through and addressed upfront. In other words, many problems are preventable. We can take you through the terms of your building contract before you sign it – and help you think through the issues and the legal consequences of agreeing to certain things. If amendments are required, we can also assist you in negotiating special conditions to the contract, to suit your particular circumstances.

Contract Termination

Our building and construction lawyers can assist you in the following circumstances:

  • Are considering terminating a building contract
  • Being threatened with building contract termination
  • Are in a situation where the contract has already been terminated.

Ending the contract is a serious matter. It should not be done without seeking proper legal advice first.

Generally, a carefully drafted notice will need to be served before you terminate, so that the other party has an opportunity to fix the problems.

If the matters are not resolved, and provided there are sufficient grounds – which must also be thought through carefully – the contract can then usually be terminated.

Termination by a builder or property owner can be a helpful resolution to a difficult and costly dispute when appropriate. If you terminate incorrectly, this can lead to a very expensive and protracted further dispute. You want to avoid any such dispute where possible.

If you require advice in relation to such matters, we recommend that you contact a building lawyer promptly before taking further action yourself.

Contractual Disputes, Litigation and Dispute Resolution

While disputes are usually unpleasant and time consuming, we assist clients to:

  • Assert and enforce contractual rights; and
  • Where necessary, assist to contain the damage and present our client’s position in the best possible light.

Contractual disputes can often be resolved sensibly without the need for legal proceedings or mediation. Where possible, our building dispute lawyers will assist clients with that negotiation. If the matter needs to be litigated, we have experience representing clients in all Victorian courts and VCAT.

Our building lawyers in Melbourne take a proactive approach to dispute resolution and prepare thoroughly for mediation and court proceedings.

If you have a dispute and require legal advice from building dispute lawyers, we recommend that you contact us as soon as possible to seek advice about how best to address the issues and move towards resolving the matter.

Workplace Health and Safety

There is a significant obligation on building companies to address health & safety matters.

Our Melbourne-based construction lawyers provide advice in this complex area, including in relation to code of practice compliance and regulator investigations prosecution issues.

Terms of Trade and Credit Arrangements

Whether you’re a builder or contractor, and whether you’re providing the service or are the recipient of the service, it is important that you ensure that the terms of trade are helpful to you, and not a potential hindrance.

Our construction lawyers in Melbourne are experienced in both drafting and reviewing terms of trade, including terms that include payment terms and credit arrangements. Getting this right upfront can save confusion and cost and later – and prevents a dispute later.

If you are already in dispute and need advice, we can also assist in representing you to resolve the dispute as quickly as possible.

Security of Payment Act Claims

The point behind the Security of Payments Act legislation is that a party who undertakes construction work is entitled to recover progress payments in relation to the work carried out.

This is a complex area. When used appropriately, it can be a powerful tool for getting paid, but careful consideration is required as to whether it is the best approach in the circumstances.

A building and construction lawyer can assist you with:

  • Making a claim
  • Applying for Adjudication
  • Defending a claim, including adjudication responses
  • Applying to set aside an adjudication determination
  • Enforcing an adjudication determination or judgment

There are also other methods of debt recovery, and we have experience acting for both plaintiffs and defendants in such circumstances.

Business Set Up

We regularly provide advice for setting up a new business, including business structures.

Whether you choose to operate as a sole trader company or select a company trust structure can affect your ongoing liability and have taxation consequences.

Needs also change over time. What might have been suitable when you start business may need to be reviewed as your business grows and changes.

Good legal advice from a construction lawyer will assist you to think through the issues so you can get your building and construction business structure right.

Buying and Selling Real Estate

As a builder or developer, if you are involved in buying and selling development sites, you will need to have solid legal advice from a construction lawyer in Melbourne.

We have property lawyers who can assist in contracts for the sale and purchase of land and, where relevant, commercial and residential leases.

Builder, Contractor and Sub-contractor Agreements and Disputes

The relationship between a contractor and sub-contractor is somewhat unique. It is business to business and you are both in the building industry. Disputes are common and the party who understands its legal position will have the advantage.

Our building dispute lawyers can advise in relation to the following contractor-specific matters:

Employment advice – A building lawyer can help determine if the contractor is truly a contractor or an employee and assist with disputes where they arise.

Contracts between builders, contractors and subcontractors – Our construction lawyers in Melbourne can draft and review such contracts and provide advice in the event of a dispute. Where the matter cannot be resolved amicably, our building litigators will represent you very competently.

Disputes between builders, contractors and subcontractors – If there is a dispute, small disagreements can become expensive disputes quickly. It is sensible to work out the legal issues quickly and try to resolve the dispute. If the other party is not being sensible, a swift and firm approach is usually helpful.

If you need advice in relation to matters between builders, contractors and sub-contractors, our team of building dispute lawyers can assist you with a high degree of competence.

Licences and Permits

Our building lawyers in Melbourne can provide advice in relation to the following:

  • Building plumbing, electrical and gas fitting licences – including application, suspension and appeal
  • Development applications
  • Water usage
  • Sewerage/drainage matters
  • Tree protection (including dealing with planning permit conditions and overlays)
  • Fire management and fire safety
  • Explosives
  • Asbestos removal
  • Public land use

Our building and construction lawyers can assist in the preparation of documentation and representation in relation to all of the above.

Building Defects and Home Warranty Insurance Claims

Not all builders are good builders.

Home warranty claims can be made against builders for defective work.

The insurance policy cannot be claimed against unless the builder is insolvent, cannot be found or is dead. So, the circumstances are limited.

Our building lawyers have strong experience in helping land owners who have engaged builders and the work is substandard. There are useful remedies available to help get your defects fixed and/or to get you an appropriate amount of compensation.

We have access to outstanding building experts who can identify the defects (sometimes well beyond what is already known) and ascribe a value to fixing those defects to assist us in properly articulating your claim.

We will always endeavour to get the dispute resolved without litigation but, if necessary, our building dispute lawyers will prosecute your case with vigour against the builder in VCAT or the courts.

If you are in dispute with your builder and need legal advice as to how to negotiate with them, or if you would like us to negotiate for you, please contact us.

Debt Recovery

Debt recovery in building matters is not always clear cut. There can be offsets and counterclaims, so thoughtful consideration of the approach is advantageous.

Our debt recovery team is very experienced and typically successful at recovering outstanding payments.

We regularly issue letters of demand and commence proceedings to enforce the payment of outstanding debts.

We will also recommend the Security of Payment approach where appropriate.

We also defend claim for payment for clients to whom alleged monies are owed.

Project Finance & Finance Documentation Advice

We can provide clients with a sound explanation of all finance contracts and personal guarantees in relation to such matters as:

  • Lender contracts from bank and financiers relating to the mortgage of land
  • Project funding
  • Equipment finance

These appointments are usually short and concise. Our building and construction lawyers will ensure that the documentation is explained to you adequately and that the documents are signed correctly.

Call our construction lawyers today on 1300 907 335 to discuss your situation, or simply fill in the enquiry form on this page to receive a prompt response from our construction and building lawyers in Melbourne.

  • CBD Office

    Level 8, 446 Collins Street
    Melbourne Vic 3000

  • Moorabbin Office

    Level 1, 441 South Road
    Moorabbin Vic 3189

  • Chadstone Office

    Level 8, 1341 Dandenong Rd,
    Chadstone VIC 3148

  • FRANKSTON OFFICE

    Ground Flr, 435 Nepean HWY
    Frankston Vic 3199

  • Preston Office

    Ground Flr, 84 Hotham St,
    Preston VIC 3072