Lawyers Qld Specialist Building Dispute Lawyer –
Lawyers Qld have been specialising in Building disputes since 2006 and are one of Qld’s most experienced Building and Construction Law Firms. We service Brisbane, Gold Coast, Regional Qld and Northern NSW.
Our Principal Lawyer Karen Schwede was admitted as Solicitor in 1988 and has been specialising in Building & Construction Law in Queensland and NSW since 2006. Karen has served on the Queensland Law Society Building and Infrastructure Committee. Karen oversees all of our Building and Construction matters.
Emotions often run high in building disputes. If the building dispute involves the family home, or the Unit or Building Complex you live in it’s hard not to take the conflict personally when it affects you home life and family.
If you are a Body Corporate Committee Member you may feel a strong obligation to resolve the building dispute not just because it bothers you but because it impacts on all of your neighbors.
If you are a builder, contractor, or sub-contractor or the matter is a Commercial Building Dispute the financial consequences and the effect on your ability to earn a living can be devastating.
It’s very important to keep a cool head and manage building disputes effectively from the start to minimise the potential financial and emotional harm.
Emotional and financial pressures can be a harmful distraction from the very structured building dispute resolution QBCC and QCAT processes that are required to be followed by Queensland Law. These distractions may later prevent you from achieving a good outcome in a building dispute.
We will describe below the steps which must be taken to successfully institute legal proceedings or successfully defend a Building Dispute in Brisbane, Gold Coast or Regional Queensland. You will see the process is structured and that the early steps can significantly impact the later steps as you work through the process.
As you read the steps, consider the importance of obtaining specialist building dispute legal advice each step of the process. Mistakes made early in the process can drastically affect the ultimate outcome of the building dispute. It’s very important to protect your legal rights from the very first step.
The best value for money is the money spent early in the building dispute process. The initial focus will be to advise you of your legal rights, protect those legal rights (should the matter proceed to QCAT or the Courts), and at the same time seek to resolve the building dispute as quickly as possible if that is at all achievable.
The next important process will be to ensure that you prepare your written material and evidence properly when you first deal with QBCC and later QCAT. We can represent you in the QBCC Early Dispute Resolution process and later if the Building Dispute goes to QCAT we can make an application to legally represent you.
Understanding Building Disputes
Entering into a Building contract is like entering into a relationship. However each party has different motivations. For the builder it’s a business transaction, for the homeowner it’s the biggest purchase you will ever make and is intended to provide you and your loved ones with a family home. Click the following link to read more about understanding why building disputes happen.
The Building Dispute Process in Queensland
In Queensland the law requires that before a person can make a QCAT application for a Domestic Building Dispute or a QCAT Application for a Commercial Building Dispute they must participate in the formal QBCC Building Dispute Resolution Process.
In particular Section 77 (1) & (2) of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (As in force at November 2019) provides that a person involved in a building dispute may apply to the QCAT Tribunal to have the building dispute decided. However, the person may not apply to the QCAT Tribunal unless the person has complied with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) early dispute resolution process
Put simply, Queensland Law requires that before a person can make a QCAT application for a Domestic Building Dispute or a QCAT Application for a Commercial Building Dispute they must participate in the formal QBCC Building Dispute Resolution Process.
In practice, this means that the very first step in making a QCAT Domestic Building Application or a QCAT Commercial Building Dispute Application is to participate in the QBCC Building Dispute Resolution Process.
Once you have complied with the QBCC Dispute Resolution Process the QBCC will issue a formal notification letter advising that the dispute resolution process has been complied with.
If you don’t follow this process, QCAT may not accept your QCAT Domestic Building Dispute Application or QCAT Commercial Building Dispute Application.
Given that you must participate in the QBCC Building Dispute Resolution Process it’s very important that you seek legal advice before you take part. It’s significant to be aware that the QBCC Representative is not legally qualified and can not provide you with legal advice on your legal rights. The QBCC Representative is not allowed to take sides. He or she is there to attempt facilitate a mediation between the parties caught up in the building dispute the process.
The object of the QBCC mediation is for the parties to move past the dispute, not to decide who is right or wrong . That being said, if you don’t understand your legal rights, how could you possibly understand if a settlement is fair. If you reach some sort of agreement at QBCC mediation, and you proceed on that basis, it may later prevent you from suing in QCAT or the Courts.
How do I make a QCAT Application for a Domestic Building Dispute or a QCAT Application for a Commercial Building Dispute?
- Download a Form 25 Application for a QCAT Commercial Building Dispute or a Form 26 Application for a QCAT Domestic Building Dispute.
- If you are seeking rectification of defective building work or the completion of incomplete building work download an Alleged defective/incomplete work schedule.
- Have on hand your QBCC letter confirming that you have complied with the QBCC Early Dispute Resolution Process as you must attach it to your QCAT Application.
- Ascertain the date the building contract was signed by the Owner and the Building Contractor.
- Know the date the building works were commenced and completed.
- Know the building contract amount, the total payments made, and any amount outstanding.
- If the building contract was terminated insert those details as required.
- Consider and insert into the QCAT Building Dispute Application the details of what you would like the QCAT Tribunal to order.
- Consider and insert into the QCAT Building Dispute application the reasons why you think QCAT should make those orders.
- Find out how much the QCAT Building Application fee is and pay it at the time of filing the Building Dispute Application with QCAT.
- When you receive a copy of your QCAT Building Dispute Application back from QCAT with QCAT’s seal on it you must serve that sealed copy on the other side within the strict relatively short time frames.
- After you make your Application QCAT will issue orders ordering you to take part in Directions Hearings, take part in Mediation, Prepare Evidence and Witness Statements and ultimately attend at a hearing.
How do I defend a QCAT Application for a Domestic Building Dispute or a QCAT Application for a Commercial Building Dispute?
- There are time limits for filing and serving a Form 36 – Response and/or counter –application. In building disputes or a matter relating to a recovery of a debt under the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 or an application under the Domestic Building Contracts Act 2000 you must file and serve the Form 36 – Response and/or counter –application no later than fourteen (14) days, after you were given a copy of the form 25 Application for a QCAT Commercial Building Dispute or a Form 26 Application for a QCAT Domestic Building Dispute.
- Download a Form 36 – Response and/or counter –application.
- Provide the reasons you are disputing the allegations made by the Building Dispute Applicant.
- Include an outline of the history and the nature of the building dispute.
- Set out the facts you intend to rely on to support the QCAT Building Dispute counter-application.
- Attach (Indexed and numbered) copies of all documents to support your QCAT Building Dispute counter-application.
- Provide the reasons you rely on to make the QCAT Building Dispute counter-application.
- State the orders that you would like QCAT to make.
- Once you have completed the Form 36 you must file the Form 36 – Response and/or counter –application with QCAT as a matter of urgency and serve the sealed copy that you will receive from the QCAT Registry as quickly as possible on the Applicant (remembering that in Building Disputes you must file the Application with QCAT and serve it on the other side within 14 days of you being given a sealed copy of the form 25 Application for a QCAT Commercial Building Dispute or a Form 26 Application for a QCAT Domestic Building Dispute).
- After you make your Response and/or counterclaim QCAT will issue orders ordering you to take part in Directions Hearings, take part in Mediation, Prepare Evidence and Witness Statements and ultimately attend at a hearing.
Brisbane Building Dispute Lawyer
Lawyers Qld regularly appear at QCAT Brisbane and the Brisbane Courts. We can help with meetings with QBCC in Brisbane such as the Early Dispute Resolution process. Read more about Brisbane Building Disputes.
Gold Coast Building Dispute Lawyer
Our Gold Coast office services the Gold Coast and Northern NSW. Read more about Gold Coast Building Disputes.