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