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How Can a Construction Lawyer Help Home Owners?

When it comes to resolving issues concerning building disputes and construction contracts, or just simply seeking construction advice, engaging a specialist construction lawyer is key. In situations that involve construction law, it is best to seek information from knowledgeable advisors. Consulting with a specialist can make your construction project cost-effective and smooth-sailing, too.

Here is a basic guide on how a Construction law expert in NSW can assist you.

Preventing construction problems

In preventing construction problems, a construction specialist can assist you by giving your construction contract a thorough review, and dispensing the corresponding advice.

Contract Review and Advice

Reviewing construction contracts is one of the many services a specialist construction lawyer provides. An impeccable review of your home building contract can prevent construction disputes, help the owner such as yourself administer the contract, and minimise risks to time, cost, and quality. Overall, it is important that you don’t overlook terms, conditions, and provisions in the contract as that may affect your rights.

Resolving existing Construction problems

Common building disputes include

Building and Construction Project Delays

Delays are a common source of building disputes. The inability of a Builder to comply with your project timeline could cost you so much money, as well as compromise the quality of the build.

Building and Construction Project Defects

Defects are commonly manifested during the build, all the way towards the end of the construction project. These may range from minimal defects such as plumbing problems, cracks in foundations or walls, etc., to major defects such as those arising from failure to comply with the project blueprint.

Variations

Even with the most thorough planning and communication between you and the Builder, unforeseen changes to the project sometimes come up. In dealing with complications like these, it is best to consult a construction law specialist to make sure that any claims for variations are validly made.

What can a Construction law expert do?

In resolving existing construction disputes, a specialist construction lawyer can help through the following means:

Termination of Contract

Should you opt to end your contract, a construction law specialist can assist you with preparing and furnishing the necessary documents to effect a valid termination.

Termination of contract is merely one of several options you can take when the Builder is in breach. It would be best to consult a building and construction lawyer to assess the feasibility of enforcing termination, and to explore other options as well.

In any case, it is crucial for you and the Builder to talk it out and try to settle the issue amongst yourselves first.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

These involve mediation, conciliation, and the like. These are non-adversarial in nature, and the purpose is to get the parties to settle the issues amicably. While parties are not represented by lawyers during ADR, having a lawyer is nonetheless advantageous as they can help you prepare the necessary paperwork, advise you, and whatnot.

Office of Fair Trading

Remember that the first step in resolving building disputes is talking it out with your Builder. If that fails, your next step is to apply at the Office of Fair Trading. Unresolved conflicts are brought to this office to be discussed. Usually, they direct the parties to undergo mediation or other ADR proceedings. If the issue is not resolved at the Fair Trading level, the complaining party will be given a certification allowing them to commence proceedings at the NCAT.

NCAT Proceedings

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) is a specialized tribunal –  not a court – that hears and decides civil and administrative cases, including building disputes. You can be represented by a construction law expert during NCAT hearings. They will assist you in preparing your paperwork and other legal documents such as affidavits, documentary exhibits, claims, witness statements, etc.

Court litigation

After exhausting having gone through all of the above, and the dispute still remains unresolved, a final resort may be had by filing a case in court. It goes without saying that you would definitely need to be represented by a specialist construction lawyer in this instance.

Key Takeaways

A specialist building and construction lawyer can help home owners or future home owners prevent building disputes and minimise risks associated with construction, and also help them resolve building disputes should they nevertheless arise.

Construction problems may be prevented by a complete and thorough review of the construction contract.

On the other hand, existing construction problems may be resolved through different means such as by negotiation, amicable settlement, ADR, with the assistance of the Office of Fair Trading, by commencing proceedings with the NCAT, or by lodging a case in court.

In all those instances, apart from a lawyer being required (such as in litigation), engaging the services of a construction lawyer significantly bolsters your chance of securing a favorable result. In fact, even simple consultations make a huge difference – and even forestall the need for escalating the matter to formal proceedings.

 

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