By its very nature, the construction industry is high risk. Many things can go wrong on a project: site problems; design issues; bad weather; resourcing challenges; budgetary or time constraints; defects and other residual issues. A project that goes wrong can be fatal for a construction business.
For property owners, residual defects can have a devastating impact on their finances and everyday life. Making a form claim for the cost of rectification of the defect usually puts the owner into the unfamiliar territory of legal processes and litigation strategies, and their costs can quickly spiral out of control if the claim is not managed properly from the start.
Whether you are negotiating and documenting the commercial aspects of an intended project, are already in the process of undertaking the construction work, or are dealing with the aftermath of a difficult project, we can help you identify the risks of your project and navigate your way through the issues that arise.
We offer comprehensive and specialist advice on all aspects of construction law, including:
- contract tendering and negotiation
- risk analysis and insurance
- security of payment claims
- investment strategies and transactions
- dispute resolution
Whether you are a large or small operator, developer, builder, contractor, subcontractor or building professional, we have the knowledge and experience to provide cost effective and practical solutions.
Tendering and Contracts
It is important to get the project right from the start. Issues during construction can be resolved efficiently when the terms of the contract are carefully crafted and address the issues that are likely to arise. A robust contract management system is also essential.
Your business relationships must have the framework to deal with:
- variation claims
- progress payments and security of payment claims
- delays and liquidated damage claims
- extensions of time
- indemnity and insurance obligations.
Prevention is cheaper than the cure. So rather than waiting for issues to crop up during construction, we will help you from the start.
Insurance is part of your risk management tool kit. While you may plan for best outcomes, it is not always possible to avoid losses. We are insurance specialists, with decades of experience in advising the largest insurers in Australia and Lloyds Syndicates.
We know both sides of the story when it comes to insurance. We can help you navigate your way through contract negotiations when insurance and indemnity clauses are discussed, and we will help you to ensure that the insurance you arrange (and the insurance of your business partners and contractors) provides appropriate coverage and adequately addresses the risks that you confront.
Security of Payments
Maintaining cash flow is the life blood of the construction industry. Legislation now protects building contractors by providing avenues to secure progress payments. There are tight time constraints involved in the management of security of payment claims. We have the specialist skills to help prosecute or defend these claims.
Business and Investment
Planning and clear strategies are essential to maximise profits. Tax efficient structures and asset protection strategies will help maximise returns. We can help you balance your risks and maximise returns in an industry known for its tight profit margins.
Disputes can happen despite the best laid plans, and are often driven by a difference in expectations. Everyone wants the best product for the cheapest cost. Tension often arises where there are time constraints, design changes, revisions of programs, acceleration of the works or an incident that results in injury or damage.
There can be no doubt that disputes can be costly and will take you away from what should be your key focus: running your business. You need help from specialists that understand the dynamics of the construction industry and the need to resolve issues as economically as possible whilst maintaining a robust defence or prosecution of claims.
When litigation cannot be avoided, our focus is to protect your interests. Mediations and arbitrations are effective and often economical dispute resolution strategies.
We understand the effect that a dispute has on your cash flow, your business relationships, your reputation and importantly your financial wellbeing.
Most new buildings have minor defects, which are usually rectified by the builder in the period following completion of the work.
However, more serious defects such as structural problems, waterproofing failures or the presence of combustible cladding can lead to arguments about liability and costs.
It is also often the case nowadays that the builder or developer is no longer in business and the property owner is left wondering how they can afford to fix the defect.
Our solid expertise in construction law is an invaluable asset to property owners seeking advice on dealing with building defects.
Our in-depth knowledge of the construction industry combined with our expert legal and technical skills allows us to provide high-quality, practical and effective advice on how to recover the cost of defect rectification. Where possible, we employ strategies designed to reduce the time and cost required to achieve the best resolution of the claim, including the engagement of joint experts and exploring alternative means of resolution.
We recognise that the presence of a serious defect in your home can have an impact on your day to day life. Our lawyers are always approachable and flexible to suit your needs and availabilities, including meeting with you in your home if you prefer.
We are adept at managing the diverse interests and expectations of property owners, owners corporations and strata managers. We ensure that stakeholders are kept fully up to date with monthly detailed written reports on the progress and ongoing costs of the claim. We also provide regular newsletters to unit owners and occupants to ensure that those who are not on the executive committee are also kept up to date.