Building & Construction Disputes

Building & Construction Disputes

When a dispute arises on a building project it can be a costly exercise for all involved. The sooner the dispute gets resolved, the better. Whether you are a builder, sub-contractor, architect, engineer or supplier of building supplies and products, it is important that you consult a building dispute lawyer to know where you stand if a dispute occurs.

Building disputes can vary greatly in complexity, and liability is not always clear-cut. Depending on the terms of your contract, without immediate action you could be liable for the mistakes of another party unnecessarily.

So acting quickly is advantageous, if not essential. There may be steps you can take to protect your interests or time limits with which you need to comply.

We act for:

  • Builders
  • Home owners
  • Developers
  • Consultants (including architects, surveyors and town planners)
  • Developers
  • Contractors
  • Suppliers
  • Owners Corporations

We can advise you about any building related matter, including the following:

  • Security of Payment Act 2002 issues – We can help you get paid faster if you are owed money, or advise you about the processes to comply with if you are served with a Payment Claim;
  • Domestic Building Disputes
  • Commercial Building Disputes
  • Defective Work Claims (commercial and domestic)
  • Breach of Contract
  • Debt recovery
  • Builder insolvency issues
  • Advice relating to challenging Planning Permit Applications
  • Building licensing and Home Warranty insurance matters
  • Quantum meruit claims; and
  • representing you in VCAT;

We appreciate the disruption a building and construction dispute can bring. We can give you practical advice to help sort the dispute out as soon as possible. We also give advice to builders and contractors about standard terms and conditions to help avoid disputes in the future.

There are often ways to resolve a matter with early intervention and lawyers can move that process along. In other circumstances, there can be strict time limits with which you may need to comply.

Disputes can often be resolved in negotiations without the need for legal proceedings or mediation. Where possible, our building dispute lawyers will assist clients to reach an amicable resolution without pursuing litigation as the only option. We work with experienced barristers which we brief as necessary.

If the matter does need to go to VCAT or court, we will take a proactive approach. Our Melbourne based building and construction dispute lawyers are experienced in with the DBDRV process and as well as VCAT and all Victorian courts.

If you need advice or representation, our building and construction dispute lawyer team can be contacted on 1300 907 335 or by filling out the enquiry form on this page.


As a property owner, what can I do if I have a dispute with my builder?

If you are having an issue with a builder then you should seek advice early. Quite often we see clients managing difficult negotiations and often ending up out of pocket.

Our building dispute lawyers understand the law and have extensive experience in handling difficult negotiations. We aim to resolve our clients disputes quickly and effectively.

Building disputes fall under two categories and the process for resolving disputes under residential or commercial building contracts is different for each.

What happens in a residential building dispute?

Generally, before referring a matter to Domestic Building Disputes Resolution Victoria (DBDRV) the parties must have taken reasonable steps to resolve the issues in dispute. This will usually require that the aggrieved party has notified the other party clearly (and preferably in writing) of the issue in dispute, given them an opportunity to respond to the complaint and advised them of the intention to refer the matter if it is not resolved.

The method for handling residential building disputes has changed somewhat in Victoria with the introduction of the DBDRV.

Before you can apply for a matter to heard at the DBDRV you take reasonable steps to resolve the dispute. We can assist you in preparing and organising your dispute and attempt to have it successfully resolved hopefully before you attend the DBDRV.

You cannot have a building lawyer represent you in the DBDRV however, we can advise you of the merits of your claim and assist in structuring your argument so that you are well prepared for the process. Quite often builders are much more experienced in these tribunals appearances whereas most people do not have experience in these settings. Having a clear plan and well-articulated case will give you the best chance of success and resolving the matter prior to the DBDRV hearing.

The matter may settle at the DBDRV and they have the power to issue orders, if you find the order unsatisfactory you will be able to appeal this in VCAT.

If the matter does not settle prior to the DBDRV hearing you will receive a conciliation certificate and you will be able to proceed to VCAT to have the matter heard.

Whilst these matters are in the tribunal system we can also assist you by continuing to mediate and attempting to resolve the matter outside of the tribunal/court system. By running the two strategies at once we can often achieve the desired result for our client faster.

What is a commercial building dispute?

A commercial building contract dispute will be decided by VCAT or a court.

Examples of such disputes are disputes between a builder and contractor, between two contractors or between a commercial builder and the developer about a contract relating to a large scale building project, such as apartments or a commercial building.

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