Building & Construction

The building and construction industry can be high-risk and fraught with complexity. Building legislation is constantly evolving and, to stay competitive and compliant, construction professionals must be familiar with a range of laws, regulations new codes and product standards.

Many building issues, whether commercial or domestic, arise from poorly drafted building contracts / consultancy agreements, or problems associated with contract administration or project delivery.

Building disputes can be minimised through carefully drafted building contracts and service agreements that clearly define the scope of works, set out the parties’ rights and responsibilities, allocate risk appropriately, and outline processes to address unforeseen events that impact upon project delivery, such as inclement weather, trade and material shortages.

A disagreement can soon escalate into a major building dispute resulting in delays, frustration and financial loss. Should a dispute arise, it is important to be clear about your legal position and work towards the most viable resolution possible.

Many disputes can be resolved using alternative forms of dispute resolution such as mediation. Mediation involves a neutral person meeting face to face with the parties to a dispute and assisting them to reach a resolution. Mediation is an alternative to litigation and can be a cost effective way to resolve a dispute including complex and technical disputes.

Domestic building disputes typically concern claims for incomplete or defective works, variations to the scope of works, prime cost and provisional sum adjustments, delays and payment claims.

Payment disputes between principal builders and subcontractors are governed through security of payments legislation across various states. These laws aim to resolve payment claims for construction work in timely and cost-effective manner. Security of payments legislation is undergoing major reform and it is important to understand the effect of these reforms and implement systems that appropriately respond to the changes.

If you are contemplating a joint venture to develop property, whether as a property owner, consultant or developer, it is important to understand the legal nature of the undertaking and the parties’ respective rights and responsibilities. A joint venture occurs when parties contribute their knowledge, skills and resources to conduct a development project. A building development agreement sets out the project’s scope and purpose, the performance obligations of the parties and the allocation of risk.

Our construction team can help explain your rights and options in all building and construction matters. We recognise recurring issues and themes that can lead to costly mistakes and disputes and regularly advise and assist builders, subcontractors, homeowners, strata managers and community associations.

Our focus is on delivering timely and cost-effective results whilst maintaining and protecting your rights and, wherever possible, preserving the relationship between the parties to ensure optimum project delivery.

Key Contacts

Doug McKinstry
Ben Meredith
Special Counsel
Madeleine Wagner