Do You Need A Lawyer?
I hear a lot of people suggesting they get a lawyer to review their house building contract.
I”m not that sure that is a great idea, and its going to cost a fair bit of money.
Issues using a lawyer
- Contract law a specialised area so your local lawyer may not have the expertise.
- Builders tend to use either the HIA, or Master Builders, Standard Contract and most are unwilling to negotiate changes.
- Although a lot of people feel the Standard Contract favour the builder I have managed a lot of contracts and my view is that they are reasonably fair to both parties.
- A key consideration in contracts is that the drawings and specification match what you want, and I’m not sure a lawyer is the most appropriate person to advise you on that.
- Standard Contracts are in ‘Plain English’ so don’t be afraid to read through yourself.
- Generally you first port of call in a dispute will be the Fair Trading Department of your State
What does need checking?
- Any Special Conditions that vary the Standard Contract. The Builder has a duty to point these out.
- The Payments Schedule is fair.
- The builder’s registration and Insurances are in place.
- The drawing and specification correctly record all your requirements.
Alternative sources of advise
If you don’t feel happy checking the documents yourself I know that many independent building inspection services offer pre-contract reviews.
As these companies check on builders every day that are well experienced in what can go wrong with a contract.
They may also be able to give you an assessment of your builders quality standards.
I would expect to to pay up to $700 for a review.
This is a general opinion only and not to be considered legal advice