Building Defects

We can help you address defective building works, whether they are major or minor.

Defective Building works can be a difficult issue for landowners, builders and contractors to identify and address. There are distinctly different processes for resolving residential and commercial building dispute.

Firstly, in all disputes the defective works need to be identified according to the building code and building standards. Disputes can arise when the works in dispute may not be major defects as well.

Some issues we commonly help clients with:

  • Incorrect installation or use of material
  • Electrical defects
  • Water leaks and plumbing issues
  • Tiling and uneven surfaces
  • Foundation and walls cracking
  • Moving and creaking floorboards or floating floors
  • Water leaks and waterproofing issues
  • Use of building materials not to Australian Standard
  • Works not compliant with drawings and specifications
  • Errors in architects or engineers drawing or specifications
  • Slab and foundational issues
  • Poor and unsightly finishes on aesthetic parts of works

Timeframe to make a claim for building defects

Timeframes apply when making claims for defective building works against a builder. Warranty claims can be complex. For landowners it is important to identify and correctly request the rectification of defective works within the allowed timeframe.

Those time frames are dictated by legislation and regulations, so making sure you don’t wait too long is very important. Each defect or issue has its own timeline so its important to get assessed when you find one.

Expert Building Reports & Inspections

A report may be required to confirm that work is defective and doesn’t comply with Australian Standards or the Building Code of Australia.

To properly document the defect, building inspection reports or, in more complex instances, expert reports will be essential. Our building lawyers handle building defect disputes regularly and can provide guidance on how to document the issue.

Having proper records and reports can determine the course of your dispute. If you have a strong and well-prepared case, it is more likely to be settled swiftly and the works rectified. We can also engage experts and provide them with our requirements and scope to ensure that their report addresses the issues and concerns you have.

How will the claim be handled?

The course of action will be determined by whether it is a residential matter or a commercial construction defect dispute. More information on the procedure and steps to resolve a domestic building dispute can be found here.

Either way our building lawyers will provide clear advice on the best process. There are multiple ways to resolve a dispute, we work for the best outcome for you depending on costs and timeframes.

The nature and expense of the claim will determine which court the matter is heard in. Different courts have distinctly different rules and procedures to follow and thresholds.

Not all lawyers have sufficient experience and knowledge to operate in all of the different jurisdictions. It is essential to engage a law firm who can navigate the different jurisdictions and court systems and is well practised in running building law matters.

There is often many stages to litigation and many crucial components such as claims, counterclaims, settlement offers and mediation and different opportunities to resolve the matter.

Setting a claim, defence or counterclaim out correctly from the outset is foundational and sets out the matter to be heard. Getting the right expert advice at the outset is essential.

During a building dispute there are many ways to settle the matter and we have extensive experience in mediations and negotiations. We take a pragmatic approach which includes considering the time, cost and stress involved and each parties’ individuals drivers about the outcome they are looking to achieve, or willing to accept to resolve the matter,

Getting a settlement before having to appear at court will save you time and costs. How your lawyer negotiates will help to get a faster resolution, as long as the other side are willing to be reasonable and cooperate. Our team has both the technical and softer skills such as strategic thinking and negotiation skills.

Determining who is at fault?

If the building was constructed to the specification in the construction contract, then the liability may lie with the architect, draftsman or engineer. Defining what the issue is and who is at fault is key to getting the defect fixed under warranty and the right party bearing responsibility.

This is a very specific area of law that requires consideration of industry knowledge to understand each party’s liabilities and responsibilities to the landowner, the builder and to the regulatory bodies.

How our lawyers can help

We have an established network of professionals that we consult with across the legal and construction industry such as barristers and experts. We can handle a wide variety of legal matters from the simple to complex with the assistance and expertise of our team and with the help of our network.

Our building and construction lawyers are experts in setting up the matter with the end in mind.

We take particular care to carefully articulate and organise your matter to ensure a successful outcome. We draft claims and correspondence with skill and precision and keep the key issues in sharp focus.

If you need advice on how to make or respond to a claim for defective building works, contact one of our team. We provide clear advice and our advice is commercially sound.

Contact one of our building lawyers to discuss your building defects matters on 1300 907 335.

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