I have a dispute with a builder. What can I do?
If you have a building dispute, you could:
- contact the builder and try to come to an agreement
- send a letter of demand asking for what you want to resolve the dispute.
The letter of demand should be sent by registered mail. Keep a copy of the letter and the and signed receipt showing it was delivered. Learn more about what to put in a letter of demand.
What if attempts to resolve the dispute do not work?
You may have to go to:
- the Building Commission (Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety)
- the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT), if the claim is referred on by the Building Commission
- the Magistrates Court of WA, if the claim is not dealt with by the Building Commission or the SAT, or
- the District Court, for claims up to $750,000.
Get legal advice on your situation.
What is the Building Commission?
The Building Commission provides a way for both consumers and builders to resolve disputes relating to the carrying out of regulated building services and home building work contracts. It has a range of services to help with managing disputes and complaints as an alternative to starting court proceedings.
What if I disagree with a decision or an order made by the Building Commission?
Most decisions and orders made by the Building Commissioner can be reviewed by the SAT. Get legal advice about whether you can have the decision reviewed and how to apply to the SAT.
Do time limits apply?
Yes. There are time limits are lodging disputes with the Building Commission. In general, a complaint cannot be considered more than six years after completion of the work.
Time limits also apply for applications for review in the SAT, and for starting a claim in the Magistrates Court or the District Court.
Legal Aid WA does not give advice in this area, but we can refer to you someone who does.
- Citizens Advice Bureau - (08) 9221 5711 to see if you can get legal advice on your problem.
- Law Society of WA for the names of private lawyers who can help with your legal problem.
- Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety - Building Commission on 1300 489 099 or (08) 6251 1900.
- State Administrative Tribunal for information on reviewing decisions of the Building Commissioner.
Reviewed: 12 April 2018