BUILDING DISPUTES

BUILDING DISPUTES 2018-06-11T23:02:15+11:00

Acknowledging that the vast majority of defective work issues occur when the builder is not bankrupt, insolvent, disappeared etc, homeowners who have fidelity fund contracts (policies) with SecureBuild will be able seek our assistance to resolve disputes with their builder/contractor regarding post construction defects regardless of a claim being triggered.

Pursuant to clauses within the terms and conditions of registration with SecureBuild, building contractors are obligated to rectify defects SecureBuild detects during or following construction.

Where a builder is not bankrupt, insolvent, dead, disappeared or subject to an outstanding money order issue by a Court of Tribunal, SecureBuild will utilise the terms & conditions of registration to assist you with resolving any disputes that may arise between you and your builder regarding post construction defects.

Dispute Management

Disputes do often arise between a builder and their clients. Typically, these disputes stem either from poor communication by the builder and/or a lack of familiarity with the building process and related laws by the homeowner.

Given our independent position and knowledge of the building process and legal framework, SecureBuild is well placed to provide a value adding service to the builder and their homeowner clients by assisting to quickly resolve disputes when they arise in these circumstances.

During the course of building projects these disputes typically relate to payments being withheld by the homeowners as they have formed a view that the quality of the building work is not to standard or the progress of the build is too slow or behind schedule.

Disputes often arise post construction. These disputes typically relate to the home owner forming the view that latent defects are present, and the builder is refusing to attend to them during the 6-year statutory warranty period (major defects 6 years and 2-year period for minor defects).

In both instances, SecureBuild will only intervene to assist in resolving the dispute where:

  • the homeowner has first brought the issues to the attention of the builder; and
  • the builder has failed or refuses to resolve the issues; and
  • those issues relate to defective or incomplete work within the applicable statutory time period.

Where the dispute relates to contractual issues, SecureBuild will not intervene to assist. In these circumstances, the homeowner and builder will be advised to seek their own legal advice.

Disputes during the course of the project

Where a home owner requests the assistance of SecureBuild to resolve a dispute or issue they have with their builder, homeowners will be advised to put their issues in writing and forward these to the builder and seek a response.

Where the homeowner’s issues relate to a lack of understanding of the building process or legal framework, they will be provided with information that addresses their misunderstanding.

In some instances, we will direct you to or provide you with a copy of the relevant legislation, code or standard that relates to the issue(s) in contention.

Where the homeowners have sought a response to issues and the builder has refused or failed to respond to those issues, SecureBuild’s Building Inspector for that project will raise this with the builder.

The Builder will be advised that if the issues relate to defective or incomplete work, SecureBuild will conduct an inspection and, in keeping with our Terms & Conditions, the builder will be requested to remedy any incomplete or defective work found.

More typically, however, disputes will occur at a stage payment stage where the home owner is not satisfied with either the progress or quality of the building work done by the builder and is withholding payment.

This is much less likely to occur as a result of SecureBuild’s progress payment approval and inspection service. However, the quick resolution of payment disputes is important in ensuring the builder’s cashflow and preventing unnecessary delays and costs in completing the project.

In the first instance, SecureBuild’s Building Inspectors will attempt to resolve the payment dispute over the telephone. However, if this is not successful a site inspection and on-site meeting will be arranged.

Where the site inspection by the Building Inspector finds no defective or incomplete work, the homeowner and builder will be advised of the findings.

Should the homeowner disagree with the inspection findings and intend to continue to withhold payment, they will be advised of the consequences of this course of action (i.e. cessation of the project, a possible breach of contract and the lodgement of a claim in NCAT by the builder).

However, where a site inspection does disclose defective or incomplete work, the builder will be provided with an itemised report listing the defective and/or incomplete items to be resolved.

Arrangements will be made for a follow-up inspection to occur to ensure all incomplete and/or defective work items have been addressed.

In keeping with SecureBuild’s T&C’s builders/contractors will be charged for the costs associated with the site-inspection and follow-up inspection. These charges are designed to act as an incentive to builders to adequately supervise the building work and promptly resolve any defect or incomplete work issues raised with them by the clients.

In circumstances where the builder/contractor disagrees with our Building Inspector’s list of defective or incomplete items, they can seek an internal review from SecureBuild.

Where the internal review by SecureBuild confirms the defects and/or incomplete work item list and the builder refuses to attend to them, in keeping with SecureBuild’s Terms & Conditions:

  • the builder may face de-registration from SecureBuild; and
  • be referred to NSW Fair Trading for their attention.

Post construction defect disputes

Where homeowners request the assistance of SecureBuild to resolve a dispute or issue they have with their builder, the homeowner is advised to put their issues in writing and forward these to the builder and seek a response.

Where the homeowner’s issues relate to a lack of understanding of the building process or legal framework, they will be provided with information that addresses their misunderstanding.

The homeowners may be directed to or provided with a copy of the relevant legislation, code or standard that applies to the issue(s) they are raising.

Where the home owner has sought a response to issues and the builder has refused or failed to respond to those issues, SecureBuild’s Building Inspector for that project will raise these with the builder.

The Builder will be advised that as the issues relate to defective work, SecureBuild will conduct an inspection and, in keeping with our Terms & Conditions, the builder will be requested to remedy any incomplete or defective work detected

Whilst this is much less likely to occur as a result of SecureBuild’s progress payment approval and inspection service, there may be instances where defects become apparent years after the work has been completed (e.g. water ingress).

In the first instance, SecureBuild’s Building Inspectors will attempt to resolve the dispute over the telephone. However, if this is not successful a site inspection and on-site meeting will be arranged.

Where the site inspection by the Building Inspector finds no defective or incomplete work, the homeowners and builder is to be advised of the findings.

Where the homeowners disagree with the inspection findings they will be advised of the options open to them (e.g. NSW Fair Trading Dispute Resolution Service and/or NCAT).

Where a site inspection does disclose defective or incomplete work, the builder will be provided with a report listing the defective and/or incomplete items to be resolved. A follow-up inspection(s) will occur to ensure that all incomplete and/or defective items are satisfactorily addressed by the builder/contractor.

In keeping with SecureBuild’s T&C’s builders/contractors will be charged for the costs associated with the site-inspection and follow-up inspection. These charges are to act as an incentive to builders to adequately supervise the building work and promptly resolve any defect or incomplete work issues raised with them by the clients.

In circumstances where the builder/contractor disagrees with our Building Inspector’s list of defective or incomplete items, they can seek an internal review from SecureBuild.

Where the internal review by SecureBuild confirms the defects and/or incomplete work item list and the builder refuses to attend to them, in keeping with SecureBuild’s Terms & Conditions:

  • the builder may face de-registration from SecureBuild; and
  • be referred to NSW Fair Trading for their attention.

To request our assistance with a dispute click here