A standard building contract is no protection. 

We check the fine print to make sure there are no unwanted consequences.

Why do I need my building contract reviewed by a solicitor?

Most builders have good intentions. But whether due to genuine misunderstanding or deliberate misrepresentation, many build-to-order and turn key homes are still being built using contracts that contain unfair or illegal conditions. 

When the building work commences, everything usually appears fine from the outset. However this can quickly change, often due to events beyond the builder’s control. If things do go wrong, a badly-executed contract can leave you significantly out-of-pocket, with incomplete building works or worse.

Most building disputes arise because the contract is unclear or has hidden unfair terms. Our contract review will ensure there are no surprises and everyone is on the same page.

HIA contracts

But don’t the standard contracts protect me?

Builders will likely tell you that not much can be changed in a standard contract. But the devil is in the detail, and seemingly small changes can have a very big impact later on.

The HIA contracts QLD and the Masters Builders contracts are produced by industry bodies, and are heavily weighted in favour of the builder so as to protect their members. 

There’s a good chance you’ve never seen a building contract. Builders use them all the time. They know how to set up the contract schedule so you wear the loss if things go wrong.

When the odds are stacked against you, we will tell you what needs to be amended so that there is a fair balance.

What could go wrong if my building contract has problems? 

A poor contract will drastically increase the likelihood of the “three Ds”: delays, defects and dollars.

Signing a building contract

Delays

A common problem with residential building and renovation contracts is the works not being finished on time. 

Towards the end of a project, builder's often shift their focus to other jobs. Every day of delay leaves you with increased interest repayments and lost rent money. 

There are contract mechanisms that will reduce the likelihood of delays, but you need to be sure they are properly implemented and know how to use them if needed.

Turn key homes

Defects

The building might not be what you expected, or even worse might not be built properly at all.

You need to make sure you are in a position to take action so that you’re not left with the bill.

There is a statutory insurance scheme operated by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) that is supposed to cover the cost of rectifying defects in residential building works. But if the contract isn’t properly set up the QBCC might not be able to approve a claim.

Master Builders

Dollars

The last thing you want is for hidden charges to blow out costs.

Builders use things like variations and PC/PS allowances to increase the price after the contract has been signed. You need to understand how these terms operate and how to minimise the risk to you.

Once a building dispute turn into a legal battle the costs will quickly escalate, turning your sound investment into a white elephant. Avoid disputes by ensuring that your contract is fair and unambiguous from the outset.

When should building contracts be reviewed?

Before signing a building contract, always get a draft copy of the contract from your builder and have it reviewed by a solicitor.

If your builder pressures you to sign without getting a review you should ask yourself why. A fair contract should have nothing to hide.

If you have already signed, you may still be able to get the contract reviewed during the “cooling off” period mandated under Queensland legislation. You should contact us urgently if you think this might apply to you. Don't wait until it's too late! 

If you are purchasing a house and land package, make sure the sale of land contract is managed by a conveyancing solicitor and the building contract is reviewed by a solicitor who handles building contracts.

House and land package
Solicitor who handles building contracts

Help! I'm already in a dispute!

If the cooling off period has expired and you are in a dispute with your builder, unfortunately you won’t be able to use the Contract Review Service. If a dispute arises, you should seek immediate legal advice from a solicitor familiar with Queensland building law, because the consequences of taking a wrong step can be very costly.

If you are in a dispute, we can provide expert advice and legal representation. Contact us to speak with one of our lawyers who will provide an estimate of costs to act on your behalf.

Ready to get your contract reviewed?

Have questions first? Contact us to book a free telephone consultation with one of our expert building and construction lawyers.

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