If your dispute is not resolved by conciliation, or a record of agreement is not honoured, the Chief Dispute Resolution Officer may issue a binding Dispute resolution order.

Before deciding whether to issue a Dispute resolution order, the Chief Dispute Resolution Officer will consider:

  • the building assessment reports
  • the extent of non-compliance with the record of agreement
  • whether there has been any change in the nature of the dispute or the circumstances of the parties since the assessor’s report (if any) was delivered.

Orders we can make

A dispute resolution order issued against a building owner can direct them to:

  • pay money to the builder for the completion of building work by a specified date
  • pay money into the Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria Trust Fund, to be held until the defective or incomplete building work is fixed or completed
  • refrain from doing anything that would stop the builder from complying with the contract or their warranty obligations.

A dispute resolution order issued against a builder can direct them to:

  • rectify defective building work by a specified date
  • complete the building work in accordance with the contract by a specified date
  • rectify any damage, caused as a result of carrying out the building work, by a specified date
  • pay for the reasonable cost of another builder to rectify or complete the building work (if the building work is too defective to allow them to continue)
  • arrange for the building work to be carried out by a registered builder (if the building work in dispute should have been carried out by a registered builder) by a specified date.

Note: An order can include a finding that the building work in dispute is not defective or incomplete.

Challenging a dispute resolution order

Parties who have had a dispute resolution order issued against them may seek to have it reviewed by VCAT on the basis that:

  • the description of the defective or incomplete building work is not accurate
  • the due date for carrying out the specified building work is not reasonable
  • any requirement in the order to take or refrain from taking specific action is unreasonable.

If a builder fails to comply with a dispute resolution order

The building owner can notify us if a builder fails to comply with a dispute resolution order.

We will direct an assessor to check the status of the building work and report on whether the order has been complied with. If the order has been breached, we will notify both parties by issuing a notice of breach of dispute resolution order.

The owner is then entitled to end the contract (as long as they have met any requirement in a dispute resolution order issued against them) and, if they wish, apply to VCAT for appropriate orders.

Builder challenging a breach notice

A builder who has been issued with a notice of breach of dispute resolution order can seek a review in VCAT by:

  • challenging the accuracy of the DBDRV building assessment report(s) on which the dispute resolution order is based; or
  • by proving that the dispute resolution order has since been complied with.

If a builder challenges the breach notice, the owner must wait for the outcome of the review in VCAT before exercising their right to end the contract.

If a building owner fails to comply with a dispute resolution order

The builder is entitled to end the contract and apply to VCAT for:

  • an order for damages as a result of the loss of work caused by the early end to the contract
  • payment for works carried out to date

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