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Dispute resolution 

A dispute resolution process is available from NSW Fair Trading. This up-front intervention service aims to help consumers and traders achieve resolution. 

In certain circumstances:

The building inspector's role is to:

  • meet the consumer and trader on site
  • inspect the items in dispute
  • assist the parties to achieve a suitable outcome
  • record the terms of any resolution reached by the parties. 

Rectification Order

Where the parties are unable to agree on a resolution and defective or incomplete work exists, the Building Inspector may issue a Rectification Order requiring the trader to carry out certain work.

The Order must be complied with by a given date, and builders wishing to rectify defects can’t be unreasonably refused access to the site by the home owner. In order to prevent rectification work being stalled, Fair Trading inspectors can include provisions in a Rectification Order that requires home owners to pay any money owed under the contract.

Where the Rectification Order is complied with, and the consumer is satisfied with the outcome, the matter is finalised.

If the Order is not complied with, the trader may be subject to disciplinary action. The consumer is then advised of other options including lodging a claim to the NCAT.

Dispute resolution for builders and tradespeople

Licensed builders and tradespeople in NSW can lodge a dispute with Fair Trading and access our free dispute resolution service. Consumers may also lodge a dispute and seek Fair Trading assistance. No matter who lodges the dispute both parties need to agree to the attempt at resolution.

Fair Trading assistance is only available when a dispute occurs with a consumer or owner-builder over a residential building issue, and does not extend to builders and tradespeople’s disputes with sub-contractors or other licensees.

View or download a copy of the Notification of home building dispute form for builders and tradespeople in PDF format (size: 138kb).

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