Building Expert

Courts or the SAT

 or just peace of mind

Why Gordon

28 Building Awards

Registered Builder for 40 years

1000’s of projects successfully completed

AIB Members, regardless of grade, must at all times:

Act in accordance with the guiding principles;
Act fairly and honestly in all dealings;
Undertake professional practice in a responsible, careful and diligent manner at all times;
Always uphold the integrity and status of the Institute, its members and the profession of Building;
Not disclose any confidential information acquired in the course of professional practice unless  required to do so by law;
Act faithfully as an agent of their client or employer and disclose any potential conflict of interest that may arise;
Respect the privileges, rights and reputation of other members;
Only make public statements, express opinions or give evidence based on adequate knowledge; and continue to develop relevant knowledge, skills and expertise throughout their career.

You can not be charged a variation for material or labour increases on a fixed price contract. (required by lending institutions)

The Home Building Contracts Act 1991 Part 2 s. 14 clearly states “A builder must not enter into a cost plus contract with an owner for the performance of home building work unless the contract is in writing and the written contract has a heading at the beginning that includes the words COST PLUS CONTRACT.” No resolution is required as such a clause is void, it is not part of the signed contract.

If you were unable to reach an amicable resolution with your builder / client  informally then I’ll explain the options open to you at a meeting if we haven’t met or take the action we discussed if this is the next step. I use MS Project as the snap shot of where we are now and where we need to be and in what time. The timelines are dependant on each other like the following extract:

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Some activity can be concurrent whilst others can only commence when the predecessor has finished. Every trade has a predecessor and successor until the project is completed.

This is a multi unit development where trades can move to another unit. On a single residence tube out by electrician and plumber are often concurrent.

Similarly finishing trades work with each other. the tiler in the bathrooms and fixing carpenter in other rooms.

Painters also like to do preparatory work, like priming and undercoating before certain trades making their job easier for when their time comes.

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Site Managers as Experts

Site managers are responsible for all the trades on a project from earthworks to handover and beyond. They are there in the NW summers and the SW winters at 6.30 a.m. and until everyone has finished for the day. Everything that happens on site the site manager takes full responsibility for from conformity with the contract, a fair quality expectation of workmanship and health and safety of the workers.

The programming of the Gantt chart so the men and materials start and finish in the right order and the project is finished on time or better. This experience is not gained from an airconditioned office.

When you’ve personally supervised over a thousand projects, won 28 Building Excellence Awards and judged hundreds of projects for the Homes of the Year you know what is a fair quality standard of workmanship. The level of perfection expected when a dispute arises is not achievable.

The District Court

From the records:

The District Court of Western Australia was established on 1 April 1970. While the prevailing judicial system of the Supreme Court, the Local Courts and Courts of Petty Sessions had been adequate, the rapid expansion of Western Australia’s population required the establishment of an intermediate system of courts. Another Court was also needed to relieve pressure and avoid a backlog of cases in the other courts, especially the Supreme Court.
The District Court of Western Australia was therefore established as a court of record, with criminal and civil jurisdiction, to provide a flexible framework to accommodate the needs of Western Australia in the administration of justice.
In 1971 civil trials were temporarily held in the Public Trust building behind St George’s Cathedral, although criminal trials continued to be heard in the Supreme Court. From April 1982 the District Court was relocated to the Central Law Courts at 30 St George’s Terrace allowing both criminal and civil cases to be heard in the one building.
In 1999, due to continued growth in the Court’s caseload, the District Court took possession of four additional criminal courtrooms created in the May Holman Centre adjacent to the Central Law Courts. The District Court was based in Central Law Courts and the May Holman Centre until relocating to its current, purpose-built CBD headquarters at 500 Hay Street, Perth.

It’s amazing what you hear as evidence to the point of wondering if you are in the correct room. You have to be prepared for that and remain quiet.

I once did a house in Nedlands where the owner claimed he didn’t like the plaster work. It was a sort of Stucco finish on a house built in the 1930’s. I couldn’t see what he was on about and the matter proceeded to the Building Disputes Tribunal as it was in those days.

I always wrote “similar to existing” as I’d heard builders tripping up over “to match existing”.

Evidence was given that the bloke in the 1930’s must have been right handed whereas my plasterer was left handed and I had a duty of care to use a right handed plasterer? There’s starving children in Africa.

The State Administrative Tribunal

The main objectives of the SAT (according to them) in dealing with matters within its jurisdiction are to:

Achieve the resolution of questions, complaints or disputes, and make or review decisions fairly and according to the substantial merits of the case act as speedily and with as little formality and technicality as is practicable, and minimise the costs to all parties, and make appropriate use of the knowledge and experience of SAT members.

However it has become a very formal, costly and timely process taking years in some cases.

A fair and independant view of the current system can be viewed here:


and here:


READ ON click here

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Member Society of Construction Law