Building dispute

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You can lodge a building dispute when you have a claim under the Building Work Contractors Act


Being involved in a matter can be a complex and costly process. You should seek legal advice before lodging a building dispute claim. You can also speak to the other party to try and resolve the issue.

The steps below provide general information and do not cover all scenarios nor constitute legal advice.



This claim should be in respect of a domestic building contract for an order under section:

  • 36 - Return payments made to the building owner or provide payments to the building work contractors (person doing the work) for materials, building work or other services they have provided
  • 37 - For determination of a dispute arising out of a building work contract to which a statutory warranty relates
  • 38 - For relief where a term or condition of a domestic building work contract is harsh or unconscionable

Because this claim is a ‘minor statutory proceeding’, generally the minor civil rules and costs scale will apply and a lawyer will not be able to represent you at the trial (subject to some exceptions).

If you claim more than $12,000 or an order for work of more than $12,000, you or the respondent may choose at the first directions hearing to not have the minor civil rules apply. If an election is made for the minor civil rules to not apply, you and the respondent will be able to be represented by a lawyer at the trial and generally a higher costs scale will apply.

Who can lodge it?

You can apply to the Court to settle this dispute under s 36, 37 or 38 of the Building Work Contractors Act if:

  • You are party to a domestic building work contract, or
  • You are a person entitled to the benefit of a statutory warranty

What you need

You can either:

You will need to provide the details or your dispute, including:

  • The amount of money you are claiming
  • The date(s) of the dispute
  • The building contract date
  • The details of your claim
  • Why you believe the other person is responsible for the claim
  • The correct names and addresses of all parties involved
  • To answer all the questions marked with an asterisk ( * )

The cost

You will need to pay a fee for lodging this form using a credit/debit card.

See the Civil Court fees page for more information.

Before you begin

You may be required to file and serve file a final notice or serve a pre-action claim or pre-action notice of intention to commence an action before filing the claim or application. For more information click here for the Uniform Civil Rules.

Click here for more information about Final Notices.

How to lodge a building dispute

Steps:

  1. Log in to CourtSA
  2. Select "Start a new case" in the drop down field
  3. Then "Yes" if you know what you would like to do
  4. Select "Claim" in the case type drop down field
  5. Read the information in the blue information box then click the "Lodge a claim" button
  6. On the form when asked "What is your main claim type?", select "Building dispute"
  7. Complete the form and click proceed
  8. Upload your Form 1AS (if required)
  9. Complete the online payment process
  10. Once your claim has been paid for, you will receive a receipt confirmation
  11. To view your claim document once it is approved, go to "My Cases" and click on the "My existing cases" tab
  12. Select the "View Case" in the Action column
  13. The summary screen will display a case details panel and parties panel
  14. To download and print a copy of your Claim to serve, click the "Documents" tab and then the Claim hyperlink within the Filed Documents panel


What happens next

Your claim will be automatically approved.

Using the information you provided, CourtSA will generate the following:

  • A sealed Form 1 Claim Building Work Contractors Act (with Form 1AS Statement of Claim Uploaded with Claim - Building Work Contractors Act if uploaded)
  • Multilingual Notice
  • A Form 34 Notice to Party Served - Interstate (if one of the Respondents has an interstate address)
  • A Form 35 Notice to Party Served - New Zealand (if one of the Respondents has a New Zealand address)

You will receive an email from CourtSA letting you know the forms listed above are available on CourtSA along with information about what happens next.


If it is accepted for filing:

CourtSA will generate the forms listed above. You will receive an email from CourtSA letting you know that your claim has been approved, and that the forms listed above are available on CourtSA.


If it is rejected:

You will receive an email from CourtSA explaining why your claim was rejected and your lodgement fee will be refunded to the credit/debit card you used to pay.