NCAT Work Orders against Builders

01/12/2015

Remedy for Builder’s failure to comply with Work Orders issued by NCAT

Mary recently approached Richard Watson of Watson & Watson for assistance where a builder failed to comply with a Work Order made by the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). The Order required the builder to complete certain incomplete and defective work (kitchen) within the timeframe as set out in the Order.  These proceedings had previously been conducted by Mary without the assistance of lawyers. 

It is common for NCAT to provide for a Work Order allowing the builder to return to the site to carry out rectification work in the event that the builder wishes to and is appropriately licensed to continue the works even though the relationship has broken down.  If you find yourself in such a relationship breakdown then it would be appropriate to approach us to seek advice before the matter is determined by the NCAT, in particular, if you do not wish to have a Work Order forced upon you. 

However, in this case Mary approached us as she was of the view that the builder had not complied with the Work Order.  As it happened the Tribunal accepted the position that the builder failed to carry out the work, the subject of the Work Order.

Mary had made an application to NCAT for an Order in proceedings known as “Renewal Proceedings” and sought that the Work Order be vacated and that in place thereof an Order that the builder pay money by way of a Money Order instead of carrying out the work under the Work Order..

Just prior to the hearing Mary approached Richard Watson, an experienced solicitor in relation to Building and Construction cases to consider the matter. Notwithstanding that each of the owner and the builder had instructed lawyers a few days before the hearing and each were of the view that it would be appropriate that the proceedings be adjourned the Member did not allow the adjournment and the matter proceeded to hearing on that day.  In those circumstances, Watson & Watson could only rely upon the documents and evidence that had been filed by Mary.  Even though the evidence was not to the standard that would be recommended by us it was sufficient to obtain a “Renewal Order” which in effect was an order that a certain sum be paid to the owner in substitution of the earlier existing Work Order.

In addition, it became clear that there were other defective works undertaken by the builder that were covered by the statutory warranties under the Home Building Act.  Separate proceedings are now on foot in relation to those matters.

Before one makes an application for a ‘renewal application’ we suggest that you obtain advice from us as to what is the best course to adopt and what is the appropriate evidence required for the hearing.  This will assist in having the proceedings dealt with efficiently and for you as the owner to obtain an appropriate order.  There are always circumstances (and sometimes some unusual circumstances) that should be considered rather than proceeding on a basis of an application for a Renewal Order which appears to be the usual course adopted in such disputes.

Richard Watson and the team at Watson & Watson are experienced in resolving the issues so as to achieve the optimum outcome.

If you find yourself in difficulties even if it is because you have chosen to proceed without lawyers or the course of the proceedings is not in accordance with what you believe is appropriate, please telephone Richard Watson for an opinion as to the best approach to be adopted.

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