QLD Non-Compliance of HIA Building Contract - Can Builder Seek Compensation?

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29 April 2014
Hi, We had a house built in Brisbane early 2013 using a standard HIA building contract. At the final inspection we disagreed about the colour of the security screens. Our contract clearly states screen colour. HIA advised that screen colour was insufficient reason to withhold final payment, so we paid and made a note under "Defects not agreed on" at handover.

We are preparing to go to QCAT and ask them to resolve the complaint. Both parties should represent themselves at the tribunal.

My question is:- If we fail in our quest to have the screens changed, can the builder seek compensation for costs over the action?


Well-Known Member
8 April 2014
So you tried to get the screens changed to the colour specified in the contract but the builder has refused? Have you let them know that you intend to take them to QCAT?

QCAT has an FAQ addressing your question - In some circumstances QCAT may make a decision awarding costs.

According to QCAT 's information:
In some proceedings, the QCAT rules allow the tribunal to order the other party (respondent) to pay the applicant's QCAT application fee.
QCAT may also award all reasonable costs to either the applicant or respondent after an offer was made if:
  1. one of the parties makes a written offer to the other party to settle the dispute, and
  2. the other party does not accept the offer within the timeframe the offer is open, and
  3. the tribunal's opinion is that their decision is not more favourable to the other party than the offer.
It may well be that QCAT orders the builder to pay your QCAT application fee if you have tried to resolve the dispute without going to QCAT but they have not been reasonable. If you think that you have a strong case where the builder has clearly not complied with the term in the contract about the colour of the screens, then you should be ok.

Information on QCAT’s procedures can be obtained by calling them on 1300 753 228. QCAT also has a Legal advice and representation page for help with legal advice even though parties must represent themselves.

Their Building Disputes page might also be useful for you.