The relationship between client and builder in most cases begins well, however no matter how diligent and respectful the process starts, disputes become almost inevitable over the life of a domestic building project. Resolving such contractual disputes through conventional means of litigation and arbitration can not only be expensive, but extremely time consuming. Mediation is an alternative form of resolution, which can considerably reduce both the time and cost, and in some cases can result in client and builder continuing to work together successfully to completion.
Brad Aylett-Sloan, building consultant at Melbourne House Check says that “building a house can be an emotionally charged process. When a dispute arises during the construction of a private home, it is common for people to be less flexible than if it were a commercial transaction. Often disputes arise not only about money, but other factors like choice of products, quality of workmanship and timing are all well represented issues of the building process that can be difficult to resolve. We all know someone who has a horror story about a builder that started the job wonderfully, however towards the end of the job became horrible, ran overtime, and submitted extra invoices that seemed unreasonable.”
“Good documentation and communication can be the key to a building project running smoothly”. Brad says. “I believe it is also vital to check the builder’s financial position, as the builder’s cash flow position can often determine the timing and subsequent quality of the project. There is nothing positive about a job that is rushed towards the end, because the builder needs the money, however this seems to be the common denominator of most building disputes we have been involved in recently”.
Mediation of a domestic building dispute begins with both parties agreeing to mediate, and selecting a mediator. The process then involves each side understanding what is important to the other, and thereafter clarifying what is negotiable and exploring the possible solutions. After the successful mediation, it is vital that agreements are well documented. A mediator should be a neutral person, but also should have experience in construction, inspection and dispute resolution. It is vital that your chosen mediator has the personal skills to listen to both sides respectively and is able to facilitate discussion between the parties, and identify possible solutions.
Melbourne House Check conduct building inspections and handover inspections Melbourne wide and are available to prepare property condition reports for project handovers. If you require building dispute consultation and mediation for a project you are involved in, whether you are an owner or a builder, Brad Aylett-Sloan can be contacted at Melbourne House Check here or on 1300 729 352.
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