Having Problems With Your Building Contractor?
by FindLaw Team
If you are experiencing problems with your contractor or builder, you should start by discussing the problem with them. You should let your contractor know as soon as you become aware of an issue. There may be a simple misunderstanding which can be resolved through communication. State government departments are generally able to provide information to you explaining applicable standards of work.
It is important to keep a written record. Following your discussion with your builder, write a letter or email confirming what was agreed to. Keep a copy of the letter or email, including evidence that it was sent.
If you are unable to resolve the dispute on your own, you should consider seeking legal advice to understand your rights under your contract and under applicable state legislation.
Each state has its own process for resolving complaints and disputes against builders and tradespeople. For example, initially state authorities such as the NSW Office of Fair Trading and Building Advice and Conciliation Victoria (BACV) will attempt to conciliate your dispute with your builder and negotiate a suitable outcome.
If the complaint is not resolved at this stage, additional processes are available. For example, in NSW the complaint may be referred to a Fair Trading Building Inspector who may order the builder to rectify deficiencies. In Victoria the matter may be referred to the Building Commission.
Ultimately if the dispute remains unresolved, you may lodge a building claim with the relevant tribunal in your state. If proceeding before a tribunal, it is a good idea to obtain legal advice from a solicitor who has specific experience appearing before that tribunal.