Building disputes don’t need to occur if you get the right tactical advice.
Often the basis of a disagreement is a simple misunderstanding or honest mistake. In which case it is important to use a building consultant who is impartial and can provide a balanced view. Be wary of advice from friends.
The emotional, financial and time cost of a dispute can be easily avoided or minimised with experienced professional help.
The formula will vary but in most cases you should:
- identify the issues;
- discard those complaints that are unreasonable or will not be supported by evidence or industry practice;
- seek legal advice from solicitors who should advise resolution at all costs. And, if the complaint escalates into a dispute use either mediation or check your rights with the Department of Fair Trading. Most residential work is protected by legislation or insurance.
Tyrrells can help you:
- identify the important issues by inspecting the property and consolidating all the incomplete and defective work into a clear report for you to use;
- communicate with the contractor;
- lodge a complaint to the Department of Fair Trading;
- lodge an insurance claim with the Department of Fair Trading or the private insurances companies responsible for home building warranty insurance with tactical advice at every stage of the process;
- select an experienced legal advisor.
What inspections or advice do you need?
You need an inspection to assess incomplete and defective work and an analysis of the documents to source and verify the basis of your rights.
All findings, advice or information should be compiled into a thorough but easily understood report.
Which buildings require inspection?
All types of buildings require inspection. At Tyrrells, we have seen disputes about a simple timber fence through to a $200m church complex.
When should you have these inspections or advice?
- any hasty action;
- ending any contract; and
- angry words with your contractor or client.
How long does the inspection take?
Advice about disputes can take considerable time. This is because the basis of the argument is often a complex mix of facts and emotion.
Allow sufficient time for us to:
- inspect the project;
- analyse the documents;
- discuss the problem;
- prepare a report; and
- provide tactical advice.
What documents should you give the building consultant?
You should provide the consultant with:
- the approved plans and specification
- a copy of the Contract
- a list of problems you know about
- a detailed list of what you want us to do
- any relevant correspondence between you and the contractor.
What insurances should consultants have?
They should carry insurance for:
- professional indemnity when appropriate; and
- public liability: $10m.
It is essential that all consultants assist their clients with any reasonable concerns or problems after the inspection has been completed
How much should you pay for these inspections?
Competent consultants charge from $275 per hour.
Dispute management starts at $660 and may be more depending upon the complexity of the problem. In most cases you will save many times the fees in reduced stress, lost time or costs.
Most Courts and responsible solicitors are recommending efforts to resolve disputes using:
- expert determination
- prevention of a complaint or minor problem escalating into an unnecessary dispute.