Building Contracts — Is your build Legal
Building disputes can be time consuming, stressful, and costly to all parties. Our knowledge in this area comes to the fore, so we can reach an expeditious outcome and resolution for you.
Building a home or investment property can also be fraught with danger, particularly given current market volatility. Since November last year at least fifteen builders have gone bust, including former heavyweights Probuild, Condev and Pivotal Homes.
Builders attribute their demise to soaring material and labour prices, compounded by Covid-19 delays, all of which have eaten away at their profits.
To mitigate this, a common ‘trap’ that some builders have employed in their building contracts, is the inclusion of clauses that enable them to pass on building material price increases, and not be penalised for delays caused by third parties. We’ve seen some builders try and claim these increased costs that have totalled more than 25% of the total contract price in some cases.
We have also acted for clients building investment properties with builders who didn’t obtain the correct council approvals for the number of bedrooms. In some instances houses were built under the guise of shared accommodation when they were in fact dual occupancy.
Our experience also extends to contractor and builder disputes with the QBCC and Claims made under the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act 2017 (“BIFA”).
A matter recently handled by our firm came about after our clients were issued with a Show Cause Notice by the GCCC asking them why the Council should not issue a rectification notice concerning their newly constructed investment property that was a ‘duplex’, in circumstances where duplex’s were not approved in that area.
Although the build had been completed about a year prior to the Show Cause Notice, our investigations revealed that the Builder had in fact constructed numerous other properties in the same street- all of those owners also receiving Show Cause Notices.
Our clients issued proceedings in the District Court of Queensland against the Builder, it’s directors and the Builder’s licensed nominee, for damages for breach of contract in that the construction was not on a single lot, where neither dwelling is a secondary dwelling.
Other breaches claimed included a failure to apply for the relevant GCCC development approval, proceeding to construct a building that required development approval and proceeding to carry out assessable development in breach of s. 163(1) of the Planning Act 2016 (Qld).
We were able to successfully negotiate a settlement on behalf of our clients with the builders insurers resulting in a substantial payment of damages to our clients.
If you are involved in a building dispute or alternatively problems associated with your build arise following completion there are a raft of remedies available.
Our team have extensive experience and a track record of success in building and construction disputes, and if you find yourself in such circumstances you should not hesitate to call us.
Save yourself time, money, and stress and contact us to ensure everything is above board – and get your contract vetted before you sign on the dotted line.