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An Overview of Construction Law in Australia

— September 15, 2022

Construction law affects various professionals and areas in this field, which is why a legal professional should be at your aid if you decide to start a project. 

The legal system in Australia is comprised of many different types of law. The complex nature of the legal system has only continued to evolve as society progresses and technology advances. 

Due to there being so many different areas of law, many lawyers choose to specialise in a particular area. 

There are many different specialisations a legal professional could choose to specialise in, including but not limited to:

  • Business Law
  • Commercial Law
  • Construction Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Construction Law
  • Employment Law
  • Family law

Being well-versed in any of these specialisations means that the lawyer has extensive knowledge and is able to defend, represent, advise, and negotiate on behalf of their client. They know the nuances, loopholes and are competent to be able to bring forth justice when it is needed. 

Today, we’re going to focus on construction law. Construction is a large industry that has continued to grow in Australia. Due to its ongoing growth, it’s important for the law to stay up to date and relevant. Here is what you need to know about construction law in Australia.

The Construction Industry in Australia

Did you know that the construction industry makes up about 9% of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product? That would be approximately $360 billion GDP. The amount is staggering, and it’s no surprise that there are a number of professions that make up the construction industry: 

  • Builders
  • Engineers
  • Project Managers
  • Contractors
  • Tradespeople
  • Architects and Designers
  • Contract Administrators
  • Surveyors
  • Urban Planners 

The construction industry isn’t made up of just builders and machinery – a whole lot of planning and processing go into every project, which is why a group of highly skilled professionals is needed. The construction industry is growing annually, and it is only natural that more professionals are coming into the field. 

It is no wonder that in terms of legal disputes and issues, a lawyer that has the knowledge and expertise on construction law would be needed when the need arises. 

What is the Construction Law in Australia? 

Understandably, there are rules and regulations surrounding the construction of structures such as homes, offices and other establishments. It is also no wonder that there are laws that apply to such. 

These laws govern different aspects of construction such as: 

  • Employment of workers
  • Safety of workers
  • Planning and development applications
  • Environmental and Zoning 
  • Licenses and registration
  • Contract drafting and negotiation
  • Tenders
  • Insurance
  • Payments and debt recovery
  • Defects and defaults
  • Dispute resolution

These are covered by a mixture of federal, state and local construction laws. Given the wide scope of construction processes, it is no wonder that a construction lawyer would arm themselves with enough knowledge about construction. 

The legal issues that could potentially stem from the different aspects of construction gives one the perfect opportunity to get a hold of a reputable construction lawyer as soon as possible. 

What does a construction lawyer actually do?

If you think that a construction lawyer only comes in handy when there are legal issues to face, then you’re mistaken. 

Because a reputable lawyer knows the ins and outs of the law, they should be able to give sound advice about anything that has to do with a construction project. For example, they would be able to know the minimum wages and maximum number of working hours of a construction worker; they can also inform you if you are not violating any environmental and zoning laws; or if debt recovery from a client becomes too much of a hassle. 

When should I hire a construction lawyer? 

The short answer is any time you deem fit! A construction lawyer can help you with all sorts of things during construction and with the wealth of knowledge they possess when it comes to construction laws, you’re bound to see yourself on the good side of the law for the time being.

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Photo by Anete Lusina from Pexels

If you find yourself in the following situations, you might want to consider hiring a reputable construction lawyer in the near future:

  • Payment issues – whether you’re a supplier who has not been paid for your goods or you’re a contractor who hasn’t been paid for their work, you may require intervention from a construction lawyer to resolve this. 
  • Quality of work – you may be a homeowner whose recently constructed home has defects or you’re a contractor accused of shoddy work, a construction lawyer can help you. 
  • Project delays – homeowners, contractors, building companies and developers may find themselves in need of help from a lawyer if delays have affected their work. 
  • Company insolvency – whether you’re working for, as a part of, or your home was being built by a construction company that has become insolvent, a construction lawyer can help you navigate this complicated situation. 

These are but a few instances that a seasoned construction lawyer would be privy to and know how to handle legally. Construction law affects various professionals and areas in this field, which is why a legal professional should be at your aid if you decide to start a project. 

The Takeaway

Building and construction disputes can arise for a wide variety of reasons. Whether you’re building a home, a construction worker or a head of a construction project, working with a building and construction lawyer can help to not only resolve disputes but also prevent them from occurring in the first place. 

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