- Business Law
- Estate Disputes
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- Property Law
Partner - Accredited Specialist in Business Law
p: 02 9232 3733
Specialty: Business & Commercial Law, Commerical, Property Law, Technology & IP Contracts
p: 02 9232 3733
Building and Other Property Disputes
Disputes can arises between principals and builders at various stages. During the course of the works there can be disputes about a variety of matters, including:
• the nature or quality of the work done
• delays in carrying out the work
• the amount claimed by the builder as a progress payment
• whether particular work is part of the contract price or a variation for which the builder can charge extra
• whether ‘practical completion’ has been achieved
Some of these disputes can be readily resolved through discussions between the parties or if there is a supervising architect, with the assistance of the architect. However sometimes the dispute is more significant and the parties cannot reach agreement. At that point, it is important for the parties to understand their contractual rights and obligations and to know what alternatives are available to them, such as mediation, suspension of work or other remedies.
Once the project is completed, there will usually be a defects warranty period during which the principal can seek to have any obvious defects remedied by the builder. However it is not unusual for some defects to remain hidden, or not become apparent, until some years after the works have been completed. In that case it is important for the parties to know what time limits apply to claims and what claims can in fact be pursued.
For home building works in NSW, the Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT) can assist with disputes about incomplete or defective works, provided the claim is under $500,000 and the claim is made within 3 years (or in some cases longer, such as up to 7 years if the claim is for breach of a
statutory warranty). For more information, see the NSW Department of Fair Trading.
For commercial contracts, mediation and arbitration are normally recommended as the most expedient methods of dispute resolution of the parties cannot reach an agreement through negotiation. Court proceedings are usually costly and can take years to resolve. Obtaining professional advice from experienced lawyers is essential. Teece Hodgson & Ward offer professional legal advice to assist client in effectively resolving disputes or, should the need arises, in pursuing their legal remedies through mediation, arbitration or litigation.
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