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WA Builder Hasn't Completed Work - Termination of Home Building Contract?

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by Sopmarko1, 2 March 2015.

  1. Sopmarko1

    Sopmarko1 Member

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    Our contract with builder was signed November 2013, slab down April quickly followed by brickwork to plate height May 2014. No further work until late September 2014 roof cover completed, within a few days windows and dummy front doors installed (internal 1st fix electrics, plumbing or plastering not completed ) resulting in company claiming roof cover and "lock up" within 48 hrs of each other. Progress payment for roof cover completed, disputed "lock up" claim as per building act guidelines and advised by building commission and not paid. This seems to be common practice for this building group, aware of blog which many more people are in the same position as ourselves.

    Since late September 2014 no work has been completed on our home, numerous communications with the builder and assurances resulted in no progress. Notice of proposed complaint emailed to builder 8th February 2015, this was acknowledged and replied via email "complaint had been Recieved and will be dealt with in the required time frame". No correspondence received from builder, therefore on 25/2/15 we have submitted a building complaint form to the building commission.

    We seek advice as to how we stand regarding termination of contract, and law firm who can assist with our situation .
     
  2. Tracy B

    Tracy B Well-Known Member

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    Hi Sopmarko1,

    As to whether you can terminate the contract:
    • Have a look at your building contract and in particular, see what it says under "completion time" or "delays"
    • Is there a "penalty" clause whereby the builder must pay an additional sum for delays?
    • Is there a "time is of the essence" clause? If so, and any deadline in the building contract has passed, then you are entitled to terminate the contract
    • If not, you are most likely able to terminate the contract if (i) a reasonable time has passed and building work still not completed; and (ii) no reasonable justification for this was given by the builder and from the circumstances, there appears to be non-performance of the contract by the builders in accordance with the contract
    If you terminate the contract due to the builder's breach of the contract, you will be entitled to compensation. This compensation may include: additional costs incurred to finish the building with another builder; loss of profits from delay; expenses incurred due to delay; reasonable and foreseeable/likely business opportunities lost (or profits) from delay.

    You can contact the Department of Commerce Western Australia (see Building Commission's Dispute Resolution section or the Consumer Protection department) for more information and for assistance in resolving your dispute. They are more cost effective than having a lawyer represent you (and resolving dispute in litigation) but may be limited in power to resolve your particular dispute.

    As to which lawyer to contact:
    • This site is a neutral forum and as such, we cannot recommend or refer you to any lawyers/firms. A quick yellow pages or internet search should pull up a list of firms qualified in building/construction disputes. I suggest you contact a few of them, ask for a quote and preliminary advice as to how they would approach the matter, then go with what you believe to be the best after doing a comparison (price and experience wise).
    • Make sure you ask the firm: (i) generally how they would approach your matter; (ii) estimation of costs or calculation method; (iii) explain likely expenses (and disbursements) to be incurred; and (iv) get this all down in writing before you retain the firm
     
  3. Sopmarko1

    Sopmarko1 Member

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    Thank you for the information, we have had our complaint accepted by the building commissioner and awaiting next stage to hopefully having clarity regarding the situation we find ourselves in. The advice provided will enable us to disseminate the contract and set us on the right path for discussing concerns with legal representation when required should the building commission prove ineffective.
     
  4. perthgranny

    perthgranny Active Member

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    I have the same issues with my builder and lodged a formal complaint to Building commission today. What was your outcome from the building commission? Did you get a reasonable solution?
     
  5. Sopmarko1

    Sopmarko1 Member

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    Hi sorry you are in same position, we have just finalised becoming owner builder in the hope of completing our home within a reasonable budget.
    The building commission helped us gain full understanding of the process for complaint, supported us with our questions along the way but in the end we had to wait for them to make a decision when all the formal process was complete and force liquidation of the company.
    I suggest you discuss your complaint with the enforcement dept as well as complaints dept within the building commission both have completely different roles but we found it necessary to be talking to both due to the process involved in a complaint regarding a builder. Good luck hope your able to resolve things quickly and complete your home
     
    perthgranny and Tracy B like this.
  6. perthgranny

    perthgranny Active Member

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    Thanks for well wishes. we certainly want them now!
    could i please know how long building commission took for resolution process?
     

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