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Let’s face it, neither the NHBRC (The National Home Builders Registration Council) as a regulating body, nor your HOA (Home Owners Association) with its preferred list of builders and architects, aesthetic and architectural guidelines and building rules offer the private homeowner any real protection against a builder in the event of a contractual dispute.

The NHBRC only indemnifies the home owner in the event that there is a structural problem with the foundation, walls or roof (the “superstructure”) of the house whereas the HOA offers no indemnity whatsoever.

Should the builder breach the building contract by delivering sub-standard workmanship or materials that does not relate to the superstructure the NHBRC will only do an inspection of the house, at the request of the owner, and slap the builder on the fingers with a fine or a suspension should they find that the builder did not adhere to the required standard of workmanship.

The NHBRC will not indemnify the owner in such circumstances and will leave the owner to pay for making good any defects.

In most of these cases the building contract between the owner and builder has not been effectively managed and no guarantees have been obtained from the builder for the proper execution of the building works. As a result the owner is left with no legal recourse or because of the lack of proper contract documentation, proving the builders misconduct is a drawn out and costly affair.

In an effort to deal with these challenges building contracts has evolved into highly complicated instruments.

However the building contract is only effective in regulating the building progress if it is accurately managed. You require an experienced contract manager to manage the building contract.

Inherent to a builders quote is his skill to manage the progress of the works, that’s why the builder adds an average 15% mark up to the quote of any sub-contractor.

By pro-actively managing the building contract you can ensure the builder pro-actively manages the progress of the building works failing which the contract mechanisms will protect you.

However, if you do not have sufficient contract knowledge, the time to attend the site regularly and the necessary technical knowledge to identify sub-standard workmanship or workmanship that is not according to plan or specification, at an early stage, you will most likely not derive much protection from even the most comprehensive building contract.

This skill set is beyond most people

The question that needs answering is whether you can live with the risk of trusting that builder who seems competent enough with your hard earned money. If something should go wrong the prohibitive cost of lawyers will most surely leave you with no recourse.

It seems that the solution would be to get someone with the necessary legal and technical knowledge to manage the building contract for you ensuring that when any deviation or non-compliance occur your contractual remedies & procedures are activated & implemented thereby dealing with the situation effectively and protecting your investment.

Even when you have an Architect, acting as your agent, in overseeing the construction and the contract administration he or she does not possess the necessary legal and contractual knowledge to safeguard your investment in the event of the builder breaching the contract. The Architect also cannot present you at subsequent mediation, arbitration or litigation.

A service like this exits, we can confidently refer you to Buildforce, their unique service offering can be viewed on the following link