Importance of commencing building claims in the right place
In New South Wales, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“NCAT” or “Tribunal”) is mainly responsible for resolving building claims involving residential building works under the Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) (‘the Home Building Act’) for claims that it has the power to determine.
Whether you are a homeowner or a builder, it is essential to ensure that a building claim for residential building works under the Home Building Act is commenced in the right place – whether it is the NCAT or a Court.
Where can you commence building claims?
Generally, a builder or homeowner may commence building claims under the Home Building Act in either a Court or in the NCAT. There are exceptions to this, including where a claim is over the limit of the NCAT, which is currently $500,000, in which the claim would be commenced in the District Court or the Supreme Court.
For building claims less than that limit, then the NCAT would generally have the power to determine the building claim. The claims are heard in the Consumer and Commercial Division of the NCAT. If a home building claim is commenced in the incorrect Court or jurisdiction, the claim may be transferred to the NCAT, particularly where an application for a transfer is made under section 48K(2) of the Home Building Act.
There are more exceptions, the main one being claims under the Security of Payment Act which are heard by a Court, including the Local, District or Supreme Courts depending on the value of the claim. It is therefore important to get specific legal advice from a construction lawyer on where to commence a building claim.
Why commence a building claim in the NCAT?
There are benefits to having matters heard in the NCAT. It is often less formal and costly, compared to a Court. The formalities that apply in Court may not apply at the NCAT. The NCAT is also more friendly if you are representing yourself for low value claims.
We, at CCS Legal, are here to assist you in running building claims in the NCAT or in the District or Supreme Courts and can provide specific legal advice tailored to you, whether you are a homeowner, developer, builder or contractor. We regularly represent clients in the NCAT and Court and are very familiar with this space.
Please feel free to contact one of our team for assistance.