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NSW Preliminary Fee to Builder - Entitled to Any Refund?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by Leksie5000, 14 January 2015.

  1. Leksie5000

    Leksie5000 Active Member

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    Husband and I are building our first home.

    I paid a builder $1500 to prepare a concept plan and a tender. I did not sign any preliminary agreement and while it may have been mentioned the fee is not refundable, I don’t really remember discussing it.

    There was some work involved in the concept plan as it was changed 4 times (minor details).
    The tender was higher than the discussed budget and we decided not to proceed with the builder.

    The builder retains copyright of the plans so in theory can use them for profit at a later stage.

    Should I be entitled to any refund of the amount if the terms were not set out clearly to me in writing under Australian Consumer Law?
     
  2. Leksie5000

    Leksie5000 Active Member

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  3. Ash

    Ash Well-Known Member

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    You state the concept plans were done and tender presented. Which sounds like the builder did the work you paid them for. What is your reason for seeking a refund?
     
  4. Leksie5000

    Leksie5000 Active Member

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    Good point. I just didn't understand it was not refundable as some builders do not charge. I haven't purchased the concept plans and don't retain that product due to copyright.

    They didn't explain the process and the tender was approximately 50k over our budget with no unknown factors occurring. I feel a bit taken for a ride being that they probably knew it would be significantly over and did not prepare aspects of it to our specifications.
     
  5. Ash

    Ash Well-Known Member

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    Even though you don't get to keep the plans the work in preparing them was still completed.

    Not sure if it will make you feel any better but had the same occur to us here in WA by a well known builder for an extension. Told them our budget, paid $600 (back 10 yrs now) and the plans were over budget by about $25,000.

    I just felt that for this builder it was a way to generate money for their Renovations Department as it was a simple extension (family room, kitchen) and they should have been able to provide a very rough sq metre rate calculation and advise us of a ball park figure before they did the plans. There is a construction booklet (name escapes me) that is updated every year that the building industry use for figures ... Gives sq mtr rates, tradies hourly rates etc.
     
  6. Leksie5000

    Leksie5000 Active Member

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    Yes I do agree with that Ash I must concede.

    I am aware of the figures quoted for various finishes, we were knowledgable and realistic about that.

    They charged a ridiculous amount for demolition which made us query the rest of their estimate.

    They also included floor coverings when it came in over budget although we had intentionally requested just about a turn key finish.

    I feel they should make the terms of taking the money clearer. At the time I didn't really think about it at the time as I thought we would go with them.

    Ah. Chalk it to experience. We are now having plans drawn by an architect.
     

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