Building and Construction Lawyers

Agreement review, negotiation and dispute resolution experts, here to help.

Call Us: 02 9119 2232

Building and Construction Lawyers

Agreement review, negotiation and dispute resolution experts, here to help.

Call Us: 02 9119 2232

Expert Legal Advice to homeowners, builders and construction companies

Competitive and Flexible Pricing.

Practical legal advice you can
understand.

————  01. OVERVIEW

Building and Construction Lawyers

Building and construction projects can give rise to many different legal issues.

Residential building work in NSW is primarily regulated under the Home Building Act 1989 NSW and other legislation such as the relatively new Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020. The Home Building Act 1989 is considered consumer protection legislation which means it is designed especially to protect the rights of a particular consumer group, in this case homeowners. If you are a contractor doing residential building work, you have to comply with the Act’s various requirements, including statutory warranties that cannot be excluded by contract.

At One Law, we advise a range of builders and other trade contractors on their statutory obligations, in particular when the reasonable market cost and labour of the works are above the prescribed statutory limit ($20,000). Determining whether the Home Building Act applies is a multi-step inquiry including closely examining the definition of residential building work. Sometimes we find that the Act does not apply because the works carried out by the contractor falls within the exclusionary definition of residential building work.

Depending on the circumstances, this can be beneficial for you. For example, installation of flooring in a unit is not residential building work and excluded under the Act as long as it is not done in connection with any other work.

We strongly recommend that before entering into a contract with a homeowner, in particular if the value of the works are above $20,000 or likely to be above this amount, you speak to us regarding your contract and other arrangements. We can advise you on your contract, and if appropriate, recommend provisions to be put in place protect you against the risk of claims, actions and lawsuits.

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    ————  02. OUR SERVICES

    Building and Construction Law Services

    Our building and construction law services include advice and recommendations on building contracts, advice, negotiation and resolution of building and strata disputes.

    We offer competitive and flexible pricing to ensure you get the legal advice you need. We’re transparent about our fees so you’re fully informed of your costs upfront. If you’d like to get in touch with one of our building and construction lawyers, give us a call or complete the contact form on this page. We offer a 20-minute obligation-free phone consult. So get in touch and experience the One Law difference.

    Building and Defect Disputes

    Advice, negotiation and resolution of
    building disputes

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    Building Contract Disputes

    Advice, negotiation and resolution of building contract disputes

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    Strata Disputes

    Advice, negotiation and resolution of strata disputes in both residential and commercial strata schemes

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    ————  03. RECENT WINS

    Success Stories

    $2.2m

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    $900k

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    See All Results

    Subcontractor ordered to pay liquidated damages to head builder due to delay in completing works

    Growthbuilt is a building company who had entered into 4 contracts with various developers for…

    Builder awarded damages against homeowner after homeowner directed the builder to stop works

    A builder entered into a standard form contract with a homeowner to build a granny…

    Contractor wins restitution order against family members for extensive renovation work without written contract

    A contractor, who was the former brother-in-law of the Defendant, carried out major renovations on…

    ————  04. WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

    Your Success is Our Success

    I would like to thank the team at One Law for all their help and support. It is very much appreciated. You have been fantastic to deal with from the beginning and have worked hard to help us get a great result. We would highly recommend you to others.

    Michael S.

    Marina Azer was my lawyer at One Law. She was very efficient, professional, swift and honest. She won my case and I was very happy with the outcome.

    I would highly recommend her.

    Danny Corleon

    I was very impressed with their commitment and desire to provide me with the best outcome at court. Their experience and knowledge was reflected in my overall outcome and I will always be grateful for their hard work. A very big thank you to James, Janine and the team.

    Katie Kramer

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      ————  05. lOREM IPSUM

      Frequently Asked Questions

      What’s the purpose of the Home Owners Act 1989 (NSW)?

      All residential building work in New South Wales falls under the Home Building Act 1989 (NSW).
      The Act provides consumer protection. It also provides the framework:

      • For appropriate licenses for builders
      • To ensure a builder and homeowner sign a written contract
      • Requiring builders to hold current insurance before starting residential building work

      What is Residential Building work?

      Residential building work is any work on a residential house involving: construction of a house, or renovation and repairs to a house. This includes renovating kitchens, bathrooms or landscaping.
      Certain trades fall within the definition of residential building work, including:

      • Bricklaying
      • Carpentry
      • Decorating
      • Fencing work
      • General concreting
      • Wall and floor tiling

      What isn’t Residential Building work?

      Residential building work doesn’t include renovations or repairs costing $5,000 or less. And that total cost must include both materials used and labour. There is an exception to this rule called Specialist Work.

      What is Specialist Work?

      he law consider certain categories of work to be Specialist Work. And this is regardless of the value of that work. It may be $5,000 worth or $50,000.
      These certain categories of work fall within the definition of residential building work. Some examples include:

      • Airconditioning work
      • Electrical wiring
      • Gas fitting
      • Water plumbing

      As a builder, what are my licensing requirements?

      Under the Home Building Act 1989 (NSW), contractors need a license to work.
      So if you’re carrying out residential building work over $5,000 or Specialist Work, you need a license.

      Who issues licenses to builders?

      The Department of Fair Trading issues licenses in New South Wales. It’s an offence to do residential building work over $5,000 or Specialist Work without a license.

      Do I need to enter written contract with the homeowner?

      You must have a written contract with a homeowner if the value of the work is more than $5,000. This is a Small Contract.
      Where the value of the work is over $20,000, you must have a more substantial contract. The legislation refers to this as ‘other than small job’s.

      Do I need a lawyer to review the contract?

      Housing Industry Australia have standard form contracts for builders to use. Fair Trading also publishes contracts that you can download and use.
      We review contracts for more substantial work to:

      • Ensure it has a good description of the work. This is known as the Scope of Work and can cause disputes
      • Ensure the contract clearly sets out the various stages of work, including payment requirements
      • Ensure all work that you won’t be doing is clearly noted in the contract
      • Advise under what circumstances each party can end the contract

      What are my insurance requirements?

      You’ll need insurance for any work you do over $20,000. This used to be Home Warranty Insurance. It’s now under the Home Building Compensation Fund.
      The purpose of insurance is to compensate a home owner if a builder:

      • Dies
      • Loses their license
      • Declares bankruptcy

      There are benefits for builders having insurance. It’s one of the most important things you can have. If you’re not insured, you’re not entitled to receive any money from the homeowner, not even as a deposit. You’re required to show a homeowner a certificate of insurance before you start work.

      There’s another important benefit of having insurance as a builder. If a homeowner fails to make progress payments, you can only chase payment if you have insurance. This is something you can’t do if you don’t have any insurance.

      What’s the difference between a major and minor defect?

      major defect is a building defect to a major element that causes (or is likely to cause) either:

      (a) The inability to occupy or use the building (or part of it) for its intended purpose
      (b) The destruction of the building, or part of it, or
      (c) A threat of collapse of the building, or part of it

      minor defect are smaller defects that can affect how a building looks or functions. But minor defects don’t compromise the integrity of the building structure.

      How long after practical completion can a homeowner make a defect claim?

      Under the Home Building Act 1989 (NSW), owners have:

      • Two years to make a claim for compensation against a builder for minor defects
      • Six years to make a claim against a builder for major defects

      What is Practical Completion?

      Practical Completion is when the builder completes the work outlined in the contract. This is except for any omissions or defects that don’t prevent a homeowner from using the home or renovations.

      I’m a builder and a homeowner has made a claim against me. Can I defend it?

      This is where one of our building and construction lawyers comes in to help builders.
      We’ve found that there are many occasions where builders can defend defect claims. The defence tends to fall under one of the following categories:

      • The builder is not responsible for the defect as it wasn’t part of the Scope of Work
      • The builder doesn’t believe the work is defective, or
      • The homer brought the claim out of time.
      ————  06. OUR TEAM

      Your Business & Commercial Law Specialists

      At One Law, we understand that every case is different, and we take the time to get to know your situation. We are your local lawyers with access to resources in all states, so you know your case is in good hands no matter where you are in Australia. Meet our Business and Commercial Law Specialists.

      James Saba

      Director

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      Angelo Margiotta

      Lawyer

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      Sina Shokouhi

      Lawyer

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      Geetha Sanderan

      Managing Associate

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      Cynthia El Mokdsi

      Lawyer

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      Mariah Jammal

      Paralegal

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      Violet Saba

      Paralegal

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      Christiana Alavanos

      Legal Assistant

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      ————  07. NEWS & BLOGS

      Building and Construction – News and Articles

      Come Experience the One Law Difference

      Call us on our free advice line or leave your details and we’ll call you.

      Contact UsCall Us: 02 9119 2232