Even with the best of intentions, things can go wrong when you start out building or renovating, and you end up in a dispute with your builder. Tyrrells receives many enquiries from customers and contractors asking for help.
- Make an appointment to meet with the builder to discuss the problem.
- Before the meeting, make sure you have a complete list of the defects. This is where Tyrrells can help you. Call us on 1300 131 270 or book an inspection on the website and a trained Tyrrells’ Building Consultant will inspect the building and provide you with a report listing any defects or incomplete work.
- Be calm.
- Be polite but firm.
- Be understanding — often the builder has been let down by a sub-contractor.
- Check the insurance certificate on the contract (it should give you $200,000 protection). If the builder is rude or is unreasonable, etc. print out the claim form from the Office of Fair Trading website (click here to take you to the web site). Complete the form and attach Tyrrell’s report.
Copy the form and report and send it to the builder with a brief covering letter saying that if the defects are not rectified within seven days, you will file the claim form with the Tribunal.
If the builder hasn’t agreed to rectify the defects or replied to your letter within seven days, file the claim immediately.
The Tribunal hearing
Tyrrells can help you prepare for the Tribunal. If you wish to have your lawyer present you generally need permission (special leave) from the Tribunal if the claim is under $25,000. Contact Tyrrells for enquiries by phone on 1300 131 270 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if something goes wrong
You and the contractor will inevitably have misunderstandings. The contractor will also make mistakes or have unexpected delays. This doesn’t mean that there is a serious problem or the job is going bad It means that you need to be ready to work with the contractor to jointly solve any of the issues that crop up during the job.
The best way to do this is to choose someone (before the job starts) that you and the builder trust to talk over the problem with. Don’t overreact when something appears to be wrong. Remember the good reasons why you chose the contractor and the good work he has done. Clarify the issues quickly with help if necessary. This means checking if something is wrong, i.e.:
- What do the drawings require?
- Are your expectations realistic?
- Is the work OK (there are tests for defects)?
- If you are wrong, don’t persist.
If there is something wrong, focus on getting it right without anger, blame or delay. Financial issues need quick action so that you and the contractor know who is paying for what.