Avoiding disputes

Unfortunately, problems can and do arise during the building process, but there are two golden rules for avoiding disputes: getting everything in writing and good communication.

Contracts in writing

If the cost of your building work exceeds $3,300, it must be covered by a written contract. However, irrespective of the value of work, Master Builders recommends entering into a written contract for all building work before work commences – it takes away the potential for there to be conflict over something that was only agreed verbally.

If you need to make any changes or variations to your contract, they must be in writing and discussed initially with your contractor (not one of their subcontractors). Putting variations in writing again removes the potential for disagreement.

Another big cause of disputes is poor documentation. Master Builders has produced a suite of residential building contracts that allocate risk fairly between the contractor and customer. If you are building or renovating, ask your building contractor to use a Master Builders contract.


Communication is the key to a successful building project. Make sure you keep in regular contact with your contractor during construction to check progress and discuss any queries you may have. By communicating only with your contractor, you can help to avoid unnecessary confusion.

Master Builders is on hand to help

Sometimes, a dispute situation can’t be avoided. In the event of a building dispute with a Master Builders member, Master Builders staff are on hand if requested to provide advice and assistance. They can help guide you and your contractor through the process and make recommendations on the best course of action to solve a disagreement or problem, before it turns into a situation that requires a formal dispute management process.

If you are using a Master Builders member for your building work and find yourself in a dispute situation, contact Master Builders and we can help with the situation.