Monday to Friday:- 8:45am – 5:15pm (Melbourne Office)

Residential Building Contract Advice & Review

When you are planning to build a home or commercial premises, problems arising are probably far from your thinking. However, building disputes are very common for all types of builds. Whether you are a landowner or builder we can assist.

Our building lawyers have extensive experience in advising on both commercial and domestic building contracts, advising on disputes and litigation. From our depth of experience we can quickly identify issues and clauses that will be problematic in the event of a dispute.

It is important to note that even if you have already signed the contract, you have a cooling off period under most HIA Building Contracts.

Our building contract advice covers the following areas:

  • Major Domestic Building Contracts
  • Sub-Contractor Agreements
  • Head Contractor Agreements
  • Joint Venture & Development Project Agreements

Domestic Building Contracts

We look at a range of issues for landowners who are engaging builders. We have represented many clients at both the DBDRV and at VCAT and have extensive knowledge of how builders operate and what is reasonable.

We will provide you with clear advice on what is in the building contract and review any unfair terms. To protect you, we can also negotiate and provide terms and conditions that are well drafted. It is important that building contracts cover the entirety of the agreement between the landowner and builder. The written contract should also accurately reflect your understanding of discussions with the builder.

Often builders that offer land and build contracts will try and push you through their lawyers. It is important to ensure that your lawyer is independent and professional. If you are entering into a land and home package, the contracts operate differently and should be read properly.

Many builders make ‘special conditions’ additions to their contracts, that may affect the agreement as a whole. Those additions may also affect your rights or unfairly advantage the builder. It is important to get advice and make sure that any unfair contract terms are removed or amended.

Many builders also include additional terms that could cause unforeseen costs. Having an experienced building lawyer review your contract may save you many thousands of dollars.

Further to the above, we will make sure you understand the key parts of the contract and what to expect.

Many building contracts have these essential elements that we carefully read and explain to you:

  • Provisional Sum
  • Progress Payments
  • Payment Terms
  • Default & Penalty Clauses
  • Prime Costs
  • Annexures referred to as ‘Technical Specification Sheet’ or ‘Foundational Data’
  • Building Site clauses that permit or omit access to the site.

Many of these terms are unique to the process. We will advise you so that understand what you might expect, and when to request further assistance if an issue arises during the building process.

Property Developers & Joint Venture Agreements

Property development is simple in principle and complex in execution. There are many parties involved in the process and often many agreements and contracts are exchanged. Sometimes you may not even be aware of all agreements between various parties. This can be more complicated if there are joint venture partners completing a development.

For property developers it is important that the building contracts are tightly drafted and reflect the agreement and what is viable to make the project a success. This applies to both commercial and domestic properties, no matter how big or small.

It is important before signing a contract that you obtain advice so that you understand what is in the fine print. Even generic or standardised contracts can have agreements may have amendments that can be detrimental to your profit, if not amended.

It is important to have a clear understanding of the key elements and have someone check how the contract is drafted. Simple words in contract terms, can have a vast difference as to the meaning. It is important to make sure that the meaning and intent of these contract terms are correct and reflect that agreement between the parties.

It is also important for your lawyer to ensure that the boilerplate or general terms, are also acceptable. These have an important bearing on what happens if there is a dispute and how it is handled.

Our building and construction lawyers are skilled and experienced in all aspects of building and construction law. We have extensive legal knowledge and practical experience in providing building contract advice and enforcing contracts where disputes arise.

We have helped many clients through all aspects of dealing with builders and can assist you as well.

Call one of our building lawyers to get advice on your building contract on 1300 907 305 or complete an online enquiry form and we will contact you promptly.

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