Whether you are building your forever home or building for profit, we can help you.
Before you sign anything
Your contract with your builder may be one of the largest value, and highest risk, contracts you ever sign. Even if the contract is an industry-recognised standard form, the way it is completed, and any documents attached to it, can substantially affect your rights and obligations. You should never simply accept the contract as completed by your builder without taking advice about whether it represents a fair balance between the builder’s interests and your own.
We can help by:
- Advising you on the best form of contract for your project.
- Reviewing a contract prepared by the builder to identify areas of risk and any items you need to clarify or negotiate with the builder.
- Helping you understand the insurance and warranty regime.
- Advising you about the documents you need to get from the builder before any works commence.
- Doing a regulatory check to ensure licensing, approval and insurance requirements are in order.
The MV Difference
- We have Canberra’s largest team of award-winning property professionals
- In 2019 Alisa Taylor was named by Best Lawyers as an expert in Construction & Infrastructure Law
- In 2018 Alisa Taylor was named in Doyles Guide as a Leading Commercial Litigation & Dispute Resolution Lawyer in Canberra
- In 2017 Alisa Taylor was named the Master Builders Australia ACT Professional of the Year
- In 2014 Archie Tsirimokos was named the Property Council ACT’s Property Professional of the Year
- Meyer Vandenberg is a corporate member of the Master Builders Association and the Housing Industry Association
- Meyer Vandenberg is locally owned and finely attuned to the Canberra and region property market
When works are underway
Unless you have engaged a separate superintendent or project manager, or your architect is doing it for you, once you sign the building contract you effectively become the contract administrator. This is a whole new skill set, and you may have limited time between existing work and family commitments in which to master your new role.
We can help by:
- Providing template checklists and spreadsheets to get you started as a residential building contract administrator.
- Providing simple contract administration training.
- Undertaking variation and delay claims assessments for you, or providing phone or email support to assist you in undertaking your own
- Storing your key documents and dates, and being ready to advise you quickly if an issue arises.
When works are nearing completion
A number of legal rights and obligations crystallise on ‘practical completion’. The way you manage the completion process can have an impact on your relationship with the builder and the timely rectification of defects.
We can help by:
- Advising you about any final adjustments to the contract sum, including your entitlement to delay damages.
- Checking (or drafting for you) the appropriate notices to finalise the contract. These notices can be technical and failing to get them right can jeopardise your entitlement to delay damages.
- Supporting you through the maintenance/defect rectification period, which can be a particularly stressful time if you are living in your new house and confronted by imperfections every day.
In the event of a dispute
A residential building dispute that spins out of control can ultimately cost more than you were expecting to spend on the house itself. We can help you keep your communications with the builder on an even keel, and provide a sanity check when you need to know whether issues are worth investing your time and energy in.
Getting early advice about issues with your builder can mean the difference between moving into your new home or being left with a half-completed house for months (or years). We are proud of our track record in resolving residential building disputes early and with a minimum of legal fees.
We can help by:
- Assessing whether your issue in fact needs to be managed by a lawyer, or if you instead need technical advice.
- Assembling the best team of technical professionals to advise you, using our connections within the industry to link you up with the ‘go to’ guys so you do not waste money on the wrong kinds of experts.
- Drafting contractual notices. You should always take legal advice before you send any notices of default or attempt to terminate your contract. Contractual notices are highly technical and if you terminate a contract improperly you can be liable for the other party’s losses – even if they were in fact in default.
- Helping you decide where to go to get the dispute resolved (whether that is a court, a government body, or an alternative dispute resolution forum).
- Managing the dispute to resolution. In some cases you may wish to engage us to completely take over all communications with the builder. In other cases you may be comfortable running the dispute resolution process yourself, and just calling on our assistance when you need it. We are happy to tailor our approach to your needs.