Building or renovating a house is likely to be one of the most expensive projects that many people will undertake in their lives. Even when a job runs perfectly, it is a stressful and disruptive process. When home building work runs off the rails, it is no exaggeration to say that it can ruin lives.
There are many reasons why homeowners end up in fights with their builders. Most commonly, disputes arise in the following circumstances:
- Where there is a disagreement over what the contract entitles the homeowner to, or obliges the builder
- Where the builder is taking longer to complete the work than the homeowner expected;
- Where the builder has performed defective work, or left work incomplete.
Fortunately for homeowners, they are entitled to a range of protections that go beyond simply the contract which they signed with the builder. The Home Building Act, which governs the construction of most dwellings in New South Wales, places certain obligations on builders which the builders cannot shirk, regardless of what the contract says.
Most importantly, this includes the imposition of statutory warranties, as set out in section 18B of the HBA. Described most generally, statutory warranties require that the builder provide the homeowner with a proper job, free of defects, fit for purpose, and in full compliance with all of the relevant codes.
If the builder fails to do this, then the homeowner is entitled to compensation.
These warranties bind the builder for a period of 6 years for any major defect (defects that might affect the inhabitability of a dwelling), and 2 years for any other defect or incomplete work.
If you are concerned with the manner in which a job is progressing, or if you are unsatisfied with the quality of the work done by your builder, before committing to a course of action it is generally worthwhile to seek advice on your prospects of obtaining compensation.
As even a minor renovation can cost a great deal of money, it is worth protecting your investment to the greatest extent possible. Our role is to lay out all your options in a clear and jargon-free way, so that you can make the best-informed decision possible.
Homeowners have a guarantee that few litigants have: home owners warranty insurance. This is an insurance policy that sits behind (almost) every home building job. If the builder has breached statutory warranties, the homeowner will be able to recover damages for those breaches, whether the builder remains solvent or not.
There are certain decisions that an aggrieved homeowner may need to make that can be very consequential. Whether to terminate a contract. Whether to commence proceedings. Whether to try and negotiate a way out of a contract. We can give you clear advice on these points that will empower you to make the best decision.
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