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  • Raynal Kapadia

Understanding a Domestic Building Contract

Updated: Jun 13, 2022

If you are building a new property, renovating, or extending an existing property, it is critical to have the right building contract for your needs. The building contract will outline each parties’ rights and responsibilities and can be used as a reference point for any legal or contentious matters. They are also crucial when resolving a dispute.


Under the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 (Vic) a ‘major domestic building contract’ must be written for work worth more than $10,000 if it relates to:

  • Erecting or constructing a home,

  • Renovations, alterations, extensions, repairs and any other improvements,

  • Preparation of plans or specifications by the builder (including any preliminary agreements),

  • Demolition or removal of a home,

  • Any work on residential zoned land requiring a permit.

Each project is unique, and the Domestic building contract can be highly complicated and difficult to understand. It is important to ensure that you fully understand your rights and obligations before you sign. In our experience we have found that some builders will include unfair or unbalanced terms and conditions putting the home owner at a signficant disadvantage should a dispute arise. It is often important to engage an experienced Building Lawyer to ensure that your building contract does not include any prohibited or unfair terms which can often lead to a costly, time consuming and stressful dispute.

Some considerations when entering a contract can include:

  • How can you make changes to the scope of works?

  • What happens if you do not pay on time?

  • Do you have any rights if the building works are defective?

  • Whether there is any compensation for a delay?

  • What happens if the builder takes too long?

  • The basis upon which the builder calculates its charges?

  • What happens if the builder decides to increase prices or change the scope of works?

Every Domestic Building Contract is unique. As highly experienced Building Lawyers, we can advise you on the terms and conditions of your building contract, and we can assist you in negotiating amendments to the Domestic Building contract to ensure it caters for your individual circumstances. We can advise both builders and home owners.

If you require assistance with a Domestic Building Contract, the experienced Building Lawyers at Kapadia and Gordon lawyers can assist you with reviewing, negotiating and enforcing the contract.

Please contact Kapadia and Gordon lawyers today on +61 402 52 6031 or via for more information.

This article is provided for the purposes of general information and is not legal advice. Please contact us directly for tailored specific legal advice.

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