Too many times we are contacted by people who are in dispute with a builder over their  renovation or new home. Their disputes are usually about one (or sometimes all) of three things:

  • The scope of work
  • The completion of work
  • The quality of work

Our notes on Building Contracts may shed some light on why this is the case.

Arguments often arise about the scope of work – over what was included within the price; what wasn’t included and how much more the ‘extra’ work is going to cost. Arguments usually result from a lack of clarity at the very beginning of the project when quotes were being obtained. Builders/Contractors presented with simple, vague drawings for pricing have to make all sorts of assumptions about what people want and they aren’t mind-readers. If you want a firm, reliable price for your project you have to put some time and effort into specifying everything you want, right down to the type of cabinet handles, the number of power points and the type of the kitchen sink! If you don’t have the time, engage an architect to assist you.

Disputes about the completion of work can be tricky. Avoiding disputes relies again on a good, clear understanding between owner and contractor – things like project start and finish dates, regular attendance on site by the contractor and prompt payment of invoices by the owner. A written contract confirming these particulars is a must and an architect administered contract can assist that your interests are protected.

Differences of opinion over workmanship quality are the source of many a shouting match – unless an architect can assess what’s right through an architect administered contract. Otherwise there are published statutory based guidelines that take the guesswork out of whether something is acceptable or not. Regular onsite assessments are necessary to ensure that poor work is picked up and rectified early and whilst it is up to the contractor to check the work of their tradespeople, if you want independent ‘third party’ assessments, an architect will assist with these as well.

Successful, dispute-free building projects rely on teamwork so having an architect on your team can make all the difference.