How to avoid them
One of the many ways to reduce the likelihood of there being a dispute between yourself and your builder is firstly to do your research before any decisions are made and to make sure everything is in writing once you have made a decision, including all correspondence.
How to complain against a builder or trade contractor?
- Communicate to your builder or trade contractor in writing, say via email, so there is a written record for the future.
- Relate your concern back to the written agreement / contract that you already have with them.
- Communicate as soon as you are aware there may be an issue as it will be easier for you and your builder to solve the problem now, rather than three months from now.
- Be as factual as possible.
Building complaints by category
According to the NSW Department of Fair Trading, during 2011-12 builder complaints came in six main areas. The largest area of complaint was about the quality of workmanship, taking up 61% of all home building complaints. Next were complaints about materials at 15%, contractual/unfinished work at 11%, design faults at 7%, changed environmental conditions at 5% and legislative or standard changes at 1%.
Clearly, of the different builder complaints lodged to The New South Wales Department of Fair Trading during 2011-12, the majority were about workmanship, meaning people weren’t happy with the quality of the work completed by builders.
Building complaints by type of defect
The largest area of defects reported on in building complaints are to do with an unsatisfactory finish at 29%, external water penetration at 14%, non structural defects at 14%, contract disputes at 12%, faulty fixture and appliance installations at 9%, non completion/delay at 8%, structural defect at 4%, leaking showers at 2%, roofs at 2%, floors at 2% and other taking up the remaining 4%.
Therefore, being able to find and speak to customers who have finished homes or home renovations built by the builder you are looking at using, would be helpful.
Builder complaints compared with plumber complaints & electrician complaints?
In NSW during 2011-12, builder complaints made up 59% of home building complaints, whereas electrical complaints only accounted for 6%, plumbing complaints at 5%, concreting complaints at 4%, pool/spa complaints at 4%, bathroom/kitchen/laundry renovation complaints at 3%, carport/garage/awnings complaints at 3% and the remainder from other industries at 16%.
Builder complaint enquiry form
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Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria (DBDRV)
During a building project, a dispute may arise between the builder and home owner(s). If you become involved in such a dispute, you should attempt to resolve the issue directly with the other party before taking any further action.
- If you are a homeowner, please view information on how to address a building dispute on the Building disputes, defects and delays page on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.
- If you are a builder, please view the dispute resolution information on the Builders and tradespeople page on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.
If the issue remains unresolved after you attempted to resolve it on your own, you can visit the Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria (DBDRV) website to lodge an online application for dispute resolution.
DBDRV provides building disputes resolution without the cost and time often associated with courts and tribunals, and has the power to issue legally binding dispute resolution orders and certificates.
For more information, please visit the DBDRV website or call the Building Information Line on 1300 557 559.
Building Practitioners Board (BPB)
Consumer Affairs Victoria
Address: 113 Exhibition Street, Melbourne, VIC, 3000
Phone: 1300 558 181
Department of Fair Trading
Address: Ground Floor, 2-24 Rawson Place, Sydney, NSW, 2000
Phone: 13 77 88
Queensland Building and Construction Commission
Address: 299 Montague Road, West End, QLD, 4101
Phone: 1300 272 272
Consumer and Business Services South Australia
Address: 91 Grenfell Street, Adelaide, SA, 5000
Phone: 131 882
Department of Commerce Western Australia – Consumer Protection
Address: Forrest Centre, 219 St Georges Terrace, Perth, WA, 6000
Phone: 1300 304 054
Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading
Address: Level 3, 15 Murray Street, Hobart, TAS, 7000
Phone: 1300 6165 3400
ACT Planning and Land Authority
Address: Ground Floor South, Dame Pattie Menzies House, 16 Challis Street, Dickson, ACT, 2602
Phone: 02 6207 1923
Northern Territory Consumer Affairs
Address: 1st Floor, The Met Building, 13 Scaturchio St, Casuarina, NT, 0810
Phone: 08 8999 1999