Department of Justice
Under the Residential Building Work Contracts and Dispute Resolution Act 2016 (the Act) a ‘residential building’ is a building, or structure, that is classified under Volume One of the National Construction Code as:
The following are not residential buildings for the purposes of this Act:
You can search for a building contractor’s licence details using the CBOS Online Licence Search.
Before you decide to enter into a residential building contract, make sure that the building contractor you choose to do the work is licensed. Building, plumbing, gas, and electrical practitioners must hold certain licences in order to perform certain types of building work.
However, some types of building work, such as paving, concreting, painting, and landscaping, do not require a licence in Tasmania. If the contractor or practitioner is not required to be licensed, you should still make sure they are suitably experienced to undertake the work.
It is important that you are involved in selecting and engaging the Building Surveyor, as they are responsible for representing your best interests in ensuring the building design and building work meets the requirements of the National Construction Code and Australian Standards.
Your Building Surveyor remains involved in your building project until it is complete, inspecting the work at particular stages to ensure your builder (or you, if you are an owner builder) are building in accordance with the approved design.
A Residential Building Work Contract is a legally binding agreement between owners and building contractors to perform residential building work. The residential building work contract is a complex document which details the building work that is to be done, and outlines the rights and responsibilities of the owner and the builder. The contract includes all plans, drawings and specifications.
All contracts must be in writing, dated and signed by both parties.
The contract must also include:
There are standard residential building work contracts, otherwise known as “standard form contracts”, available from many sources include builders, industry bodies and some lending authorities. If you use one of these standard form contracts, it is important that you read the contract thoroughly and understand all terms and conditions, prior to signing, to ensure that it accurately reflects what has been agreed.
While there is a minimum cooling-off period of five business days for all residential building work contracts, you should make sure you are happy with the contract in its entirety before you sign it. If you are not happy with any of the terms in the contract, you should negotiate with your builder to add or remove any terms that do not suit your needs.
If you are unsure about any part of the contract, you may wish to take a copy of the contract to a legal practitioner for independent advice. Please note that by seeking legal advice, your right to withdraw from the contract during the cooling-off period will be affected.
Builders are required to provide owners with a copy of the Residential Building Consumer Guide. It contains information about building contractor obligations and consumer rights as outlined in the Residential Building Work Contracts and Dispute Resolution Act 2016.
The consumer guide is to be provided to the owner, with a copy of the signed contract, within 5 business days of the contract being signed.
The Guide to Standards and Tolerances 2017 is a valuable resource that provides all parties to a residential building work contract an independent perspective to determine acceptable standards of workmanship.
This Guide has been developed to:
Building contractors must give a range of warranties that are rights of the owner whether or not it is written into a contract. These warranties automatically form part of all residential building contracts.
The statutory warranties provide that:
Statutory warranties last for 6 years from the date of practical completion and transfer to new owners if the property is sold, until the end of the original time period. To make a claim that the building contract has not met their obligations under the statutory warranties, it must be submitted within the six year period.
The statutory warranties will run for 6 years from completion of the building work and will apply for the benefit of any subsequent owner of the building during that period.
Building practitioners and building material suppliers have the option to make a claim for payment under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2009 (the Act).
A building practitioner or building material supplier adds the following statement to their invoice:
‘This is a payment claim under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2009.’
This statement indicates that the building practitioner or building material supplier is seeking payment or written reasons for non-payment within 10 business days (or 20 business days if the receiver of the invoice is a Residential Home Owner).
Where there is a disagreement over payment between parties, a building practitioner can apply for adjudication of the dispute. A Nominating Authority appoints an independent adjudicator to assess the dispute. The adjudicator must assess the application within 10 business days.
Further information relating to Security of Payment is available.
If a building dispute does occur, there are options available to help you resolve the issue: