Building dispute lawyers Melbourne and Ballarat

Whether you’re renovating your home, fitting out retail premises or building a new commercial office, things don’t always go to plan. The quality of materials may not be what you expect, construction delays could be costing you money or you may have questions about a variation payment.

Our experienced building dispute lawyers can help guide you to the best outcome so you can move forward with your residential or commercial project with confidence.

Residential building disputes

Planning your dream home is exciting, but when things don’t go to plan it can be stressful and expensive. Issues can arise if you believe the work completed is faulty, not finished or even when workers or contractors believe they haven’t been appropriately paid. If you have a residential building dispute you may be able to apply to Domestic Building Despite Resolution Victoria (DBRV) to help you resolve your dispute.

Commercial building disputes

Commercial building disputes can bring your business to a halt or result in lengthy delays or unexpected costs. Often, commercial building contracts outline how a dispute should be resolved. These provisions can vary depending on the contract and may not always be in your favour. If a dispute cannot be resolved, you may have several options that you can pursue, including mediation, applying to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) or going to court. Our experienced lawyers can guide you on your options and represent you if you need.

Why MNG Lawyers

Our building dispute lawyers understand what the fine print in your building contracts mean and can explain it to you in plain English. They will listen to your issues and help you find a practical solution, whether that means going to court, the DBRV or VCAT, so you can enjoy your property.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are many types of building work that can give rise to a dispute. If you believe the work is faulty is delayed or hasn’t been completed you may have grounds to claim. Workers or contractors may believe they haven’t been properly paid for the work and have grounds for a dispute.

The dispute can arise from construction, new buildings or renovations and fit-outs, repairs, demolition work or even simple improvements to your property. It can include a range of work including plumbing, painting, tiling, concreting, electrical work and fencing.

Anyone involved in a building contract can raise a domestic building dispute claim. This includes not only the homeowner and builder but also architects, surveyors, engineers and subcontractors who may be eligible to apply.

A domestic building dispute claim can arise during the construction of your building or many years after the work is completed. Depending on what your claim is and what your contract says, you may have only three months to begin your claim, so it’s important to get legal advice as soon as you can.

The DBRV is a government agency that helps to resolve building contract disputes in Victoria. It offers conciliation services for disputes between homeowners and builders. Before you take your dispute to the DBRV you must have taken reasonable steps to resolve it yourself and notify the other person that you’re going to apply to the DBRV.

If the DBRV accepts your application, they will review all the relevant documents including contracts, drawings and permits. The conciliation may result in:

  • An agreement that is documents and each party to the agreement must follow;
  • A Dispute Resolution Order that’s a binding order that must be followed;
  • A Certificate of Conciliation that shows you have tried conciliation but allows you to apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) if you can’t reach a solution.

If you want to apply to VCAT, it’s best to first get some legal advice. This is because you may need to do some things beforehand, like seek an injunction to stop the other person from doing something before VCAT can hear your application.

VCAT may require you to first go through mediation, which is a non-binding attempt to resolve the dispute. If this doesn’t resolve the issue, then VCAT will hear your case, which is quite similar to going to court. You will be required to follow any decision made by VCAT.

While some disputes are unavoidable, the best way to prevent a building dispute is by having a robust contract in place before work commences. If you’re planning on undertaking a domestic or commercial building project, we recommend asking one of our lawyers to review your contract so they can give you advice on what it means and help you negotiate any terms if necessary.

If you’re a builder, contractor or subcontractor who is claiming payments from a developer, you may be able to make a claim quickly under the Security of Payment scheme in Victoria. This is a quick and cost-effective way for people who have carried out construction work or provided goods or services under a construction contract to get paid. While you don’t necessarily need a lawyer to make a claim under the scheme, legal advice may help you to make sure you make your claim correctly and receive payment quickly.

Get in touch today, always in confidence.

We’re here to help. It’s our top priority to ensure your needs and concerns are met every step of the way.
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