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Building Service Complaints

Who can make a complaint?

A complaint under the Building Services (Complaint Resolution and Administration) Act 2011 can be made by any person who is adversely affected by the carrying out of regulated building services.

A complaint may be made to the Building Commissioner by:

  • a person whose interests are being, or have been, adversely affected by the carrying out of a regulated building service (ie. the owner of the work, or an affected third party); or
  • an owner or builder under a contract for home building work valued between $7,500 and $500,000.

In respect of building service complaints, this allows not only a consumer of building services to make a complaint but also any person adversely affected by that service. This can include a neighbour whose property has been damaged as a result of unsatisfactory building services, a subcontractor, or some other third party.

A building service complaint hinges upon the quality of performance of that service. If the service is not carried out in a proper and proficient manner or is faulty or unsatisfactory, then the making of a complaint is warranted.


Time limits for making a complaint

There are time limits for lodging complaints with the Building Commissioner.

In general a complaint cannot be considered more than 6 years after completion of the work.

When ascertaining the completion date of a regulated building service, consider;

  • if the work was done under a permit and the person responsible for the work ceases their responsibility under the permit, the work is completed when the notice of cessation is given;
  • if not above, the work is completed when the notice of completion is given;
  • if the work is not carried out under a permit, then the work is completed on the date that practical completion is achieved.

For specific home building work contract matters (contract variations, breach of contract, termination payments) the time limit for making a complaint is generally three (3) years as set out in the relevant section of the Home Building Contracts Act 1991


Making a complaint

Before initiating a complaint with the Building Commission, read the important information provided in the Building Complaint Resolution Guide. Complete the Notice of Proposed Complaint and provide it to the party against who the complaint is made at least 14 days before submitting a formal complaint to the Building Commissioner.

Complete the Building Complaint Form and lodge it with the Building Commission together with copies of relevant documents and the complaint fee.

When completing the Complaint Schedule contained within the Building Complaint Form you are required to provide a detailed description of your complaint/s.  Should you be considering engaging a building inspector to provide a 'Building Inspection Report' to support your complaint/s, read the information provided in the Inspection of Buildings—Guidelines for Building Complaint Reports.  It is recommended you discuss the requirements of the guidelines with your Inspector prior to engaging them, so you both agree on the content of the report.

If you would like to be represented by another person in a conciliation hearing, please complete the
Authority to Represent at Conciliation

Payments can be made by cheque, credit card, eftpos or cash (in person).


Previous reasons for decision

Viewing previous reasons for decision may assist parties to a building dispute prepare their case.

You are able to search databases containing decisions made by the State Administrative Tribunal and the previous Building Disputes Tribunal decisions will be available again in February 2014.