Avoiding & managing disputes for homeowners

Problems can and do arise during the building process, and unfortunately they can sometimes lead to disputes. The golden rule for avoiding disputes is to get everything in writing and communicate effectively with your builder.

For the resolution of disputes arising out of, or in connection with the contract, parties should follow the requirements as set out in the general conditions of the contract.

In the event of a building dispute with a Master Builders member, our staff are on hand to provide advice and assistance. We can help guide you and your contractor through the process and make recommendations on the best course of action to solve a disagreement or problem before it escalates and requires a formal dispute management process.

If you're using a Master Builders member for your building work and find yourself in a dispute situation, contact us and we can help with the situation.

What if the dispute can’t be resolved?

Master Builders actively encourages both parties to reach an amicable agreement to resolve their issues. However, we can't make a formal determination enforceable on one or either party.

If joint agreement can't be reached, the matter may be referred to one of the following:

Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC)

The owner or contractor may lodge a formal complaint with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) for defective work or non-complete work.

The QBCC promotes informal documented agreements between parties, without the need for further intervention. They encourage both sides to take responsibility and develop a better understanding of how to avoid conflict through communication and documentation.

However, if a dispute can't be resolved informally, the QBCC can:

  • Assess defective building work
  • Direct rectification work
  • Issue an infringement notice and licence demerit points
  • Post contractor performance records on their website.

Go to the QBCC website for more information.

Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT)

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) decides disputes related to building activities for:

  • Domestic and commercial building work
  • Disciplinary proceedings against building certifiers and contractors.

QCAT also reviews decisions made by:

  • The QBCC relating to disciplinary proceedings and licensing and permits
  • The QBCC relating to rectification of work, insurance claims, exclusions and bans for domestic building work
  • An adjudication registrar.

For the dispute to be heard by QCAT it must be about:

  • Erection or construction of a building
  • Renovation, alteration, extension, improvement or repair of a building
  • Provision of electrical work, water supply, sewerage or drainage or other like services for a building
  • Demolition, removal or relocation of a building
  • Any site work including the construction of a swimming pool, retaining structures, driveways or landscaping
  • Preparation of plans and specifications, or bills of quantity related to the building work
  • Inspection of a completed building
  • Work prescribed under a regulation.

QCAT has standard forms and procedures for lodging an application in relation to a building dispute.

Visit the QCAT website for more information.

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