Building A New House
Sep 19, 2007 4:00 pm
Taken from the office of fair trading NSW.......
Building disputes and resolution
The early intervention dispute resolution process provided by the Office of Fair Trading’s Home Building Service is based on discussion, negotiation and mediation.
Dispute resolution process
If you are experiencing problems with your builder or tradesperson, the following steps may help you reach a quick resolution. You should follow steps 1-3 before involving the Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT).
Step 1. Talk about it
Develop and maintain positive communication with your builder or tradesperson (ie. contractor). As soon as you become aware of a problem you should bring the matter to your contractor’s attention. Talking things over in the first instance could resolve the problem. It may simply be a misunderstanding which can be resolved by communication.
Step 2. Write a letter
Following your discussion, write a letter outlining what you have both agreed to do and by when. Keep a copy of the letter for your records and note the date you posted it. Registered post and/or email are useful because they provide proof that the letter was sent. If your dispute remains unresolved after completing these two steps, contact the Office of Fair Trading.
Step 3. Contact the Office of Fair Trading
Contact your local Fair Trading Centre in writing (a verbal complaint is acceptable if the building work has created a health or safety risk for you). Fair Trading will attempt to negotiate a suitable outcome between you and your contractor. If the negotiation is unsuccessful, Fair Trading will provide you with information about further options including dispute resolution by the Home Building Service, or the involvement of the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT).
Step 4. Building inspections
Where a building inspector from the Home Building Service determines that there are defects, incomplete work or damage as a result of the contractor’s work, a Rectification Order may be issued.
Step 5. The Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal
If the Rectification Order is not complied with or you are unsatisfied with the decision made, you may lodge a building claim with the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal. A building claim may also be lodged with the Tribunal by you or the contractor where defective work is not involved, eg. for money owed.
Where a claim to the Tribunal is made during the Rectification Order period, the Order ceases to have effect and the Tribunal will hear the matter.
What can the Tribunal do?
The Tribunal can issue Orders such as the following:
payment of money
supply of services
relief from paying money
delivery, return or replacement of goods
reversing an insurer’s decision on an insurance claim
payment of compensation for loss because of a breach of a statutory warranty (eg. work not done in a proper and workmanlike manner).
What can’t the Tribunal do?
The Tribunal cannot hear a building claim over $500,000.Time limits also exist for making claims to the Tribunal. These are:
three years – claims for building services supplied or not supplied
Re: So what are your rights when building a new home??2
Sep 19, 2007 4:03 pm
And for Victoria............................
If you have a building dispute with the builder and are unable to reach an agreement, a complaint can be lodged with Building Advice & Conciliation Victoria (BACV) for assessment by a Consumer Affairs conciliator.
You can make a complaint by:
downloading the Domestic Building Complaint Form (PDF)
completing the details and including photocopies of your contract and other documents
lodging in person between 8.30am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday:
Victorian Consumer & Business Centre
113 Exhibition Street, Melbourne
Consumer Affairs Victoria
Building Advice and Conciliation Victoria
GPO Box 123A
Melbourne Vic 3001
For help with making a written complaint:
phone us on: 1300 55 75 59
What happens next?
A conciliator is an independent person who talks with both parties and tries to get them to come to an agreement about how to solve their problem.
A Consumer Affairs conciliator will assess your written complaint, advise you about options and may then work with you and the builder, to reach an agreement.
If the conciliator is unable to get an agreement between the two parties, several possible actions may follow, depending upon the situation.
If enough evidence is found to suggest that laws have been broken, your case may be passed on to a Consumer Affairs Victoria solicitor to consider prosecution.
If your complaint suggests evidence of faulty work and the conciliator is unable to get a voluntary agreement to fix the work, the case may be passed on to a building inspector from the Building Commission. The building inspector may make a site visit to complete a defect report and decide whether the work is defective.
A builder who refuses to fix a defect may be referred, by the Building Commission, to the Building Practitioners Board for possible disciplinary action or prosecution.
In all situations, every effort is made to get the builder to volunteer to fix defects and complete unfinished work.
Building Commission Defect Reports
Section 43F Defect Report
This is a free technical inspection and report that may be available after a conciliator has assessed your written complaint and worked with both parties to try to resolve the dispute. Free inspections and reports are only available for appropriate cases where the domestic building contract:
Was signed after 1 July 2002
Is for building or renovating work with a value over $5000.
A report will be written by the building inspector. A copy of this report will be given to the building owner, builder and the Consumer Affairs conciliator.
Section 44 Defect Report
A technical inspection and report provided to the building owner by a building inspector from the Building Commission for a fee of $300. This is available for building owners who
Signed a domestic building contract worth over $5000 before 1 July 2002
May or may not have lodged a written complaint with BACV at Consumer Affairs Victoria.
This defect report is provided to the building owner and builder. The owner may decide to make the report available to their Consumer Affairs conciliator.
Once the defect report has been issued by the Building Commission, it can only be challenged through The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
What if the dispute cannot be resolved through conciliation?
If you are unable to resolve your building dispute through use of BACV 's voluntary dispute resolution services, you may make:
An application to VCAT or
An application to the relevant builders warranty insurer, if the builder has died, is insolvent or has disappeared.
Once you have lodged your case with VCAT, the courts or any other tribunal, BACV will no longer be involved in the process.
VCAT deals with disputes about consumer matters, credit, discrimination, domestic building works, guardianship and administration, residential tenancies and retail tenancies. Consumers and builders can take disputes to VCAT at any time during the BACV process and for up to 10 years after the building is completed.
Re: So what are your rights when building a new home??5
Sep 19, 2007 4:32 pm
your rights in QLD..................
If you have a dispute with a Builder or Trade Contractor in relation to defective or incomplete building work, the Building Services Authority (BSA) may be able assist in resolving the dispute.
Our advisory service can inform you of your rights and obligations and those of the contractor.
Before lodging a formal complaint:
First, you should try to resolve the problem by talking to your contractor and clearly Identify all individual items you believe to be defective or incomplete.
You must provide reasonable site access and give the contractor the opportunity to address your concerns.
If you are not successful put your concerns in writing to the contractor and ask for rectification or completion to be completed within a reasonable time frame. (a copy of this letter will be required with your application to BSA)
Lodging a complaint with BSA
If you have been unsuccessful in resolving your dispute the attached Complaint Form should be completed and returned to us along with copies of the relevant documents.
Confidentiality & Freedom of Information
Information provided to BSA during the dispute resolution process is kept confidential. However, information held by BSA, including the documents you have supplied and information gained during the resolution process, is subject to applications for access under the Freedom of Information Act 1992. Information may be released in accordance with the Act and BSA Freedom of Information policy.
BSA Dispute Resolution Process
BSA's dispute resolution process and timing may vary depending on your needs and the complexity of the complaint.
We will however, provide you with regular updates and guide you through our dispute resolution process.
This may be simply by a BSA officer acting as an objective third party and attempt to negotiate a solution acceptable to both parties.
Or where a contractor fails to complete the building work in a workmanlike manner, BSA may under the QBSA Act direct the contractor to rectify the substandard or incomplete work.
BSA encourages both parties to resolve the issues in the dispute even after you have lodged your complaint form. This this may provide a quick resolution to the dispute and remove the need for BSA to intervene.
The second stage may involve an inspection of the work by a BSA building inspector or an independent consultant to identify the extent of defective work. BSA uses discretion at this point and may direct the contractor to rectify the individual items of defective work or attempt alternate dispute resolution procedures.
Before we can process your complaint in relation to defective work or building inspection services we require a copy of:
Current rate notice (all pages) or evidence of your ownership of the property
Copy of notification to the contractor advising of the alleged defects
Copy of contract, invoice or evidence to identify the contractor as the person responsible for the work.
A specific list of defects, individually numbered and of sufficient detail to identify the location and nature of the defects.
Complaints BSA can assist with
BSA provides a dispute resolution service for complaints in relation to incomplete or defective building work and an auditing role in assessing complaints in relation to sub standard termite and building inspections
BSA can also investigate complaints against Private Certifiers where questionable decisions have been made in building approval or inspection of building work.
Incomplete residential construction work (Insured Works)
Where the complaint is in relation to incomplete construction due to termination of a contract, bankrupt or liquidated status of your builder, you may be entitled to have the remaining portion of the work assessed as a claim pursuant to the statutory provisions of BSA's Insurance fund.
If this is the case it is essential you supply all the following documents with your claim, we cannot process your claim without them.
Complete copy of the contract, quotation and/or building agreement
All council or private certifier approved plans
Specification and/or list of inclusions
All pages of a current rate notice or evidence of title
Correspondence relating to contract termination (if applicable)
Evidence of payment (i.e. copies of receipts or cheques presented and/or a letter from the lending institution)
Complaints BSA can not assist with
A specific list of exemptions can be found in BSA regulations 5. Generally BSA cannot handle complaints where:
Work is under the value $1,100. Excepting plumbing, drainage, gas fitting, termite management system installation, residential and building design drafting, completed building inspections reports.
Where the complaint is over fulfilment of contract conditions or disputed payment of money.
The Commercial and Consumer Tribunal provides a cost effective dispute resolution service for disputes of a contractual nature. ( More information on the CCT’s procedures can be obtained from their website: www.tribunals.qld.gov.au)
Under Section 72 of the QBSA Act, BSA maintains discretion as to when it may direct a contractor to rectify defective work. In applying discretion BSA will consider the severity of the defect and how long it took to appear after the work was completed.
The contractor may be held responsible for: Category 2 defects for a period of 6 months from completion of the work or, if the contractor has been notified in writing during this period the time limit may be extended to 7 months
Your contractor may be held responsible for Category 1 Defects for a period of 6 years and 3 months from practical completion of the work.
Defective construction work
Where the complaint is about defective work there are two categories which define a defect where the contractor may be held responsible for work that has not been performed in accordance with the Building Act, and in a good and workmanlike manner.
Category 1 defects are those defects, which may:
Allow water penetration into a building
Adversely affect the health and/or safety of the occupants
Adversely affect the structural adequacy of the building
Adversely affect the serviceability, performance or functional use of the building or works
eg. leaking showers, subsidence or settlement of footings, incomplete or inadequate termite protection.
Category 2 defects are defects, which are not a defect of another category and which:
Result from failure of the contractor to meet a reasonable standard of construction and finish;
Are of a kind, which commonly occur during the settling in period of a new building.
eg. poor finishing detail, sticking windows and doors, cracked plasterboard and cornices.
Steps To Take
1) Notify your Contractor in writing
Allow Aprox 14 Days for response. If none contact BSA or our web site for a claim form
2) Lodge Complaint with BSA
Initial assessment of dispute by BSA Case co-ordinator
3) Negotiation period
We encourageboth parties to resolve the dispute prior to a site inspection by BSA
4) Dispute unresolved?
In most cases an Inspection of defects by BSA Building Inspector or Technical Consultant will be carried out
5) Resolution of dispute by
assisted negotiation or;
Direction to contractor to rectify (in most cases this requires a 28 day minimum rectification period)
If the contractor fails to comply with the Authority’s Direction
BSA may commence disciplinary action in the CCT or Magistrates court; or
If residential construction work, have the rectification and/or non-completion assessed as a claim pursuant the insurance cover provided by BSA.
There is a complaints form at the following website:
Re: So what are your rights when building a new home??8
May 19, 2008 12:36 pm
Thanks for the information Sally !
Could come in very very handy.
We are loving living in our new home ! https://forum.homeone.com.au/viewtopic.p ... &start=315
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