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Residential Focus

Do I need advice before entering a residential building contract?

The purchase of a home, or land for a home, is for most of us, our biggest investment. Most of us will engage either a conveyancer or property lawyer to review the sale contract.

Renovations or new builds are a further significant investment in that asset and yet many owners overlook seeking advice from a specialist building and construction lawyer to review the residential building contract, why is that?

There seems to be a preconception that standard form residential building contracts are all fair and balanced, but in many cases they simply reflect the needs of the members of the body publishing them and many builders have developed extensive special conditions which vary the standard contract terms considerably in their favour.

As even a modest renovation can run into several hundred thousand dollars, owners should approach what are, in reality, significant procurement decisions, with caution and invest wisely in:

  • due diligence
  • understanding the terms of the contract proposed
  • considering how they can be completed or amended so as to reduce unnecessary risk.

The time to address the key issues which will affect time, quality and cost is before the contract is signed. Contact us if we can assist with a contract review.

Need help with residential building defects and disputes?

Your home is most likely your most significant asset. It’s also where you live. That intersection of the commercial and the personal frequently gives rise to an expectation gap in terms of defects and if, how and when they are addressed.

We’re here to listen, and we will also ask a lot of questions. The most important question we will ask is about time. Why? Because significant and powerful rights for owners are time limited.

We can assist you with finding a resolution, which may involve:

  • lodging a complaint with the regulator
  • notifying the insurer
  • triggering contractual mechanisms to deal with defects
  • commencing proceedings for unresolved defects, whether using rights under the contract, the statutory warranties under the Home Building Act or the duty of care under the Design and Building Practitioners Act.

For owners corporations we can also help you navigate recourse for defects alongside the impact of relatively new legislative schemes, namely the Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement) Act and the building bond scheme under the Strata Schemes Management Act.

Just ask. We're happy to help.

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