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Ending Costly Building Disputes

08 July 2016

The Andrews Labor Government is taking action to ensure builders and consumers can resolve disputes without costly, prolonged and stressful legal action.

Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz today announced the establishment of Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria, which will conduct compulsory dispute resolution and issue binding orders, before a matter ends up at VCAT or in the courts.

The new independent service will be led by former Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria Director, Gina Ralston, who has recently been appointed Chief Dispute Resolution Officer.

Ms Ralston will lead a team of experienced dispute resolution officers, and will have the power to make binding orders compelling builders to fix or finish work, or for consumers to pay for a builder’s services.

Building disputes often take a heavy toll on home owners and builders alike – and often end up in court. It’s an added stress and significant cost we’re keen to see avoided.

Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria will provide a fair, fast and free service and build confidence in Victoria’s building industry.

Under the Victorian-first reforms, VCAT will have new powers in certain circumstances to award costs against an unsuccessful party, if they had refused to participate in dispute resolution, or did not participate in good faith.

The reforms will also require builders to provide consumers with an information statement before they sign a building contract, outlining the rights and responsibilities of each party.

Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria will be in operation early next year.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz

“We’re taking action to fix longstanding flaws in Victoria’s $28 billion building industry. Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria will help avoid costly, prolonged and stressful legal action.”

“The new body will have the powers it needs to order expert assessments, determine if work is incomplete or unsatisfactory, or if payments have been improperly withheld.”

“Ms Ralston’s extensive experience and proven track record will provide Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria with the leadership it needs to be an effective dispute resolution authority.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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