Wed. Mar 27th, 2024
Building Contracts

Poorly constructed agreements are typically the source of the most common disagreements in the building and construction industry, regardless of whether you are a builder, developer, architect, or owner. Our expert property law solicitors at Chamberlains offer some advice on how to lessen the impact of such risks.

In this article, our professional property rights lawyers explain all you need to know about property law contracts. We believe that with adequate knowledge about private property, the law relating to personal property, common law principles, and your general legal rights, you will be well-positioned to make good choices as a property owner.

Poorly constructed agreement concerns can lead to delays in payment and labor, and they can manifest themselves in the form of construction delays, conflicts about changes, or confusion around what constitutes “complete.”

As a result of this, it is essential to investigate the primary factors that will either guarantee the success or failure of your project.

Different kinds of contracts

Building Contracts

If the project costs more than a certain amount, builders and other craftsmen are required to present a written contract in accordance with the Home Building Act of 1989 (including the provision of labor and materials).

Projects under $5,000

The Act does not mandate the use of contracts for work with a value of less than $5,000 (including labor and materials). Having said that, notwithstanding our recommendation, you should still have a formal agreement in place.

Projects $5,000 – $20,000

Any residential building or construction work that is between $5,000 and $20,000 in value is required to be covered by a “Small Jobs Contract.” This contract must include specific clauses, such as the “Quality of Construction” clause, which states that the work will comply with the Building Code of Australia, to the extent required by the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

Projects above $20,000

Any home construction works that cost more than $20,000 is required to have an “Extensive Home Building Contract” as well as mandatory Home Building Compensation Coverage. In addition to this, it must contain a number of provisions and checklists in order to comply with the Home Building Act.

What to Search for in a Residential Construction Contract

There are a few components of any project, regardless of its scale, that will demand a deeper inspection in order to safeguard your financial investment.

Form of the Contract

You are able to negotiate a few various sorts of payment contracts, including the following:

Contract according to the norm

The Master Builders Association (MBA) or the Housing Industry Association can provide you with this standard form of the contract. There are some fairly typical terminologies included, but it is still adaptable to your specific project with some little changes.

Contract with a predetermined price

This is yet another standard form of contract that is utilized for residential construction endeavors. In this particular scenario, the cost is going to be paid all at once in one go.

Cost-plus contract

However, the owner has agreed to cover any and all charges, thus there is no upper limit on the ultimate price. This type of contract is typically used for construction projects with an expected total cost that is greater than $500,000 or that, for whatever reason, cannot be calculated until after the construction work has begun.

Custom contract

This is a legally binding document that has been crafted exclusively with your project in mind.

The Payment Structure

It is necessary to include, in addition to the amount of the contract, information such as: 

  • Penalties for late fees 
  • Any deposits that are non-refundable 
  • Final payment terms 
  • How variations in estimated costs will be handled 
  • Schedule of progress payments 
  • Interest

What Variations Exist

The owner may have a change of heart, or there may be a disconnect between their expectations and those of the contractor, which may lead to one of the most prevalent causes of conflict during building projects: variations. 

Contracts that lack clarity or include terminology that is ambiguous frequently result in parties disagreeing over the meaning of the term “variation” and how the contract should be interpreted. Therefore, ensure that you provide particulars such as the following:

  • The manufacturer’s name and item number for each and every product (fixtures, paint, PowerPoints, tapware, etc.)
  • Specifications on the number of coats of paint that will be applied, in addition to the kinds of treatments that are chosen.
  • Specified quantities for each individual item (cement, door handles, toilets, etc.)
  • It is also a good idea to provide limits and directions for how any prospective alterations will be approved and executed, as well as any potential variations that may exist.

A Prolongation of Time

The length of time it takes to complete the works is another cause of contention that frequently arises during building projects. Everyone involved in the transaction has to be aware of the fact that, based on the terms of the contract, the Owner may be entitled to demand liquidated damages or deduct the appropriate amount from the final payment. 

As a result, everyone will have a much better understanding of what is expected of them if there are clear guidelines and procedures regarding the extension of time and how parties are alerted.

Dispute Resolution

Despite the best efforts at preparation and communication, disagreements can still arise; as a result, it is essential to include a transparent process for resolving disputes and claims with regard to the performance or completion of a job.

Despite the best efforts at preparation and communication, disagreements can still arise when it comes to SMSF setup costs. Setting up a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) involves various expenses, including professional fees, legal documentation, and administrative costs. It is crucial to carefully consider and plan for these costs to avoid disputes and unexpected financial burdens. Moreover, when engaging professionals for SMSF setup, it is essential to include a transparent process for resolving any disagreements or claims regarding the performance or completion of the job. This ensures that all parties involved understand their responsibilities and have a clear path to address any potential disputes.

Disputes and claims can arise regarding the performance or completion of a job. Clarifying the mediation procedures in advance is something we strongly recommend doing because, depending on the contract, this may imply giving up your ability to initiate a lawsuit.

When it comes to your next construction project, you may reduce the risk in a few different ways; however, the most effective strategy would be to engage the assistance of an expert attorney who is able to draught a legally binding contract for you. Get in touch with the helpful staff at Chamberlain’s property lawyers Sydney right away to set up a no-cost consultation.


For all you need to know about the Australian legal system or the western legal systems as a whole when you are purchasing property or trying to sell one, our experienced property lawyers at Chamberlains can help you navigate the process with clarity so that you can know what to do at the right time and how to do it.

You wouldn’t have to bother about the insolvency property law committee decisions, the same property issues, your local government law council actions, or the necessary things you need to do in the bidding contract, we will help you through it all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *