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Department of Justice

Resolving building disputes

If you have engaged a builder to build or renovate your home, your builder must give you a Residential Building Consumer Guide (PDF, 2.2 MB) telling you about your rights and responsibilities. If your builder has not provided you with a copy of this Guide, then you have up to seven days after becoming aware that you should have received the Guide to withdraw from the contract, if you so choose.

A good contract is the first step to ensuring disputes do not arise.

Under the Residential Building Work Contracts and Dispute Resolution Act 2016, there are a number of other steps you can take to resolve a dispute.

Discuss your concerns

  1. It is always the best option to talk to the builder about the issues or concerns you have. In most situations this resolves the dispute and you will achieve the outcome you want.
  2. If your concerns are about the standard of work on your building you should talk to the Building Surveyor overseeing your building work.
  3. Local Government (Councils) also have a role as the permit authority for plumbing and some building work. You may also wish to speak to them about the standard of the work.
  4. The Director of Building Control has published a Guide to Standards and Tolerances (pdf, 4.8 MB) which will help you determine whether or not the standard of work falls within acceptable limits.
  5. If your concerns are not resolved and the concerns are with a builder then you should check to see if they are a member of the Housing Industry Association (HIA) or Master Builders Association (MBA).  Both associations can help you to understand the role of your builder and help you seek a suitable outcome.

Mediation 

If you cannot resolve the issue, Consumer, Building and Occupational Services offer free and voluntary mediation.

If you wish to use this service contact our Dispute Resolution and Compliance unit.

Our process cannot be used to resolve contractual disputes. You should talk to a legal practitioner if you need help with your contract.

Adjudication

If you are unable to resolve your issues through mediation, you may serve the builder with a work completion claim, specifying the work that needs to be completed and a reasonable timeframe in which the builder should complete the work.

If the work is still not resolved, you can lodge the work completion claim with the Director of Building Control for adjudication by an expert panel.

This panel will be chosen from a pool of experts in the field relevant to your dispute. The decision of the panel will be legally binding.

Costs will usually be shared by the parties.

Disputes about conduct

A person who uses a licensed builder for building work, or associated building work within Tasmania, has the right to expect a builder to conduct themselves in a professional manner. The Code of Conduct, contained within The Scheme for Accreditation of Building Practitioners July 2008 (pdf, 483.2 KB), sets out the standard of conduct.

It is important that you contact us and discuss your complaint with Consumer, Building and Occupational Services Dispute Resolution and Compliance staff before you lodge a complaint about a building practitioner.

Disputes about payment

In Tasmania a person who does building or construction work, or supplies goods or services for building or construction work, has a legal right to recover progress payments for work done and goods and services supplied.

This is known as Security of Payment.

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