Building contractual disputes are usually clear cut but workmanship matters not so. If you say the workmanship is fine but the other party’s expert witness says otherwise you’ll have to prove it. You are no longer innocent until proved guilty. Sometimes both parties call expert witnesses. The builder’s expert says any remedial work would have to be under $100 and the client’s expert says remedial work would be over $1,000.
If you are seen as trying to resolve matters you will most likely be allowed to attend to the remedial work or at least have awarded against you what it would cost you and not the price quoted by a third party.
If it is something you could have fixed in the first place the adjudicator will take a dim view,
From a Building Industry perspective you are unlikely to have any dealings with the Building Commission, the SAT and Lawyers. They are all client side operators.
Then of course there is a time when you send out a progress claim and a solicitors letter comes back.
This is usually a test to see if the contract sum is negotiable. There are people who never intended paying the contract sum. They’ve been to Asia and haggled for an hour over a T shirt for a 50c discount and thought it a clever thing to do. In Asia the bartering is done before the sum is agreed not after.
Having a lawyer on the other side can have it’s advantages, they can keep the client in tow.
So you’ve sent out your progress claim or final account and got a solicitor’s letter with the appended Building Report from the client’s expert.
Again they are testing the water to see if there is room to manoeuvre on the contract sum. (the client has usually forked out a couple of thousand at this point and wishes to at least break even i.e. contract sum less expenses)
Assuming the work is in accordance with the contract and the workmanship is up to scratch you should have no trouble pursuing your claim. If it’s a progress claim apply for adjudication, if not there is the Courts, if you’re not sure contact us.
In the above examples the client kept requesting silly fix-ups as a means of delaying the final account of $20K. We sent a summons. The solicitor’s letter came back with an offer to drop any counter claim and costs. We didn’t accept this. The soliciter came back with a $5K offer and drop the rest. We didn’t accept.
The solicitor came back with a $10K offer and drop the rest and so on. The client settled at $16K and no further costs or future claims.
To peruse the case and serve the summons a fee of $750 is charged. You will need to pay the Court.
As a current site / project manager I can view the matter in question and advise from a builder’s perspective. Often reports by third parties can take a negative point of view. I’ll give it to the parties straight, and hopefully reach a workable solution. It will be resolved in the end anyway so it may as well be cost effective.
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After a successful outcome we also assisted in the prevention of a similar occurance arising again by getting systems streamlined. This includes all information being available on the cloud and all the company’s details available on the net.