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Building and Construction Lawyers

We’re here to help you with agreement review, negotiation and dispute resolution.

Call Us: 02 9119 2232

Building and Construction Lawyers

We’re here to help you with agreement review, negotiation and dispute resolution.

Call Us: 02 9119 2232
————  01. OVERVIEW

Building and Construction Lawyers

Undertaking building and construction projects often introduces various legal intricacies.

In NSW, residential building works are primarily regulated by the Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) and other relevant statutes like the more recent Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020. Specifically designed as a consumer protection legislation, the Home Building Act 1989 aims to safeguard homeowners’ rights. As a contractor engaging in residential building activities, you are expected to adhere to various provisions of this Act.

At One Law, our expertise encompasses advising a diverse range of builders and trade contractors on their statutory responsibilities. This is particularly significant when the fair market cost and labour for the works exceed the prescribed statutory limit ($20,000). Determining the applicability of the Home Building Act entails a comprehensive examination, which includes a thorough review of the definition of residential building work. On occasion, the Act does not apply as the works by the contractor falls within exclusionary definition of residential building work.

Depending on the scenario, such exemptions could be advantageous for you. For instance, floor installations in a unit, if not associated with any other work, do not fall under residential building work and are thereby exempted from the Act’s jurisdiction.

We highly recommend consulting with us before signing a contract with a homeowner, especially when the work’s value is expected to exceed $20,000. Our team can provide expert guidance on your contract and suggest appropriate provisions to reduce the risk of claims, actions, and potential lawsuits – protecting your interests.

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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 regarding 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. 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


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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 including construction of a house, renovation and repairs. 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?

      The law identifies certain categories of work to be Specialist Work. This is regardless of the value of that worth, whether the work’s worth is $5,000 or as high as $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?

      As per the Home Building Act 1989 (NSW), it is mandatory for contractors to hold a license to operate. This applies when you’re performing residential building work valued over $5,000 or engaging in any kind of Specialist Work.

      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?

      The Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) mandates that a written contract must be established with the homeowner if the work’s value exceeds $5,000. This is referred to as a ‘Small Contract’.

      However, if the value of the work surpasses $20,000, a more detailed and comprehensive contract is required. The legislation classifies this type of agreement as a contract for ‘other than small jobs’.

      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?

      As a contractor, it’s crucial to have insurance coverage for any work valued over $20,000. Previously known as Home Warranty Insurance, this protection now falls under the Home Building Compensation Fund. The primary purpose of this insurance is to safeguard homeowners should a builder:

      • Pass Away
      • Lose their license
      • File for bankruptcy

      Having insurance is not only beneficial but also essential for builders. Without insurance, you’re ineligible to receive any payment from the homeowner, including an upfront deposit. Prior to commencing work, you’re obligated to present a certificate of insurance to the homeowner.

      Insurance also provides additional advantages to builders. If a homeowner fails to fulfill progress payments, your insurance enables you to pursue these payments legally. Without insurance, you have no legal recourse to recover any unpaid dues.

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

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

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

      A minor defect are smaller defects that can affect how a building looks or functions. Minor defects do not comprise 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?

      Our Building and Construction lawyers play an essential role in assisting builders, especially when it comes to defending against defect claims. We’ve found that there are many occasions where builders can defend defect claims. Typically, these defences fall under one of the following categories:

      • The builder argues that the identified defect falls outside of the agreed Scope of Work
      • The builder disputes the claim by maintaining that the work is not defective
      • The homeowner has made the claim outside of the stipulated timeframe, rendering it invalid.

      With their extensive legal knowledge and expertise, the One Law Building and Construction lawyers can guide you through these situations effectively, ensuring your rights are protected.

      ————  06. OUR TEAM

      Your Building and Construction 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


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      Geetha Sanderan

      Special Counsel and General Manager

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      Sina Shokouhi


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      Valeria Jabro


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      Violet Saba


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      Sandra Violi

      Legal Admin

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      ————  07. NEWS & BLOGS

      Building and Construction – News and Articles

      Come Experience the One Law Difference

      Call us on our advice line 1800 663 529 or leave your details and we’ll call you.

      Contact UsCall Us: 02 9119 2232