Introduction To Construction Law
In this guide, I share with you an introduction to Construction Law in Australia to help you understand the various important areas you need to be aware of to ensure your business is successful and protected.
For any construction business to operate successfully, your people, from architects to engineers, independent contractors and project managers need to understand how the state and federal laws impact and regulate your business operation. This will minimise and eliminate your exposure to liabilities and disputes.
The body of law that applies to any building project is called construction law. Whether you are building and planning a residence, a block of apartments, an office building, or a shopping centre, you should be aware of your rights and obligations. This article provides a snapshot of the laws and regulations that specifically apply to the construction industry in Australia.
What is Construction Law?
Construction law in Australia is a broad yet specialised area. Although it overlaps and in a way, falls under the commercial law umbrella, many parts of it are niche and specific to the industry and are guided by a strict and complex set of regulations.
In saying that, construction law generally covers the following areas:
- Planning and development applications;
- Licenses and registrations;
- Contracts drafting;
- Tenders and negotiations;
- Statutory implied warranties in contracts;
- Joint venture agreements;
- Dispute resolution and litigation; and
- Debt recovery
It’s important to note that every aspect of a construction project can be affected by a mixture of federal, state as well as local laws – which are typically administered by the local council. In New South Wales, your construction business matters are guided by the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 and the Contractors Debts Act 1997.
In addition, as a construction business, you need to be aware, understand and comply with the National Construction Code (NCC). The NCC is a performance-based code containing all Performance Requirements for the construction of buildings. It that outlines the minimum requirements for the design and construction of new buildings and has a particular emphasis on the health, safety, amenity and sustainable design of buildings.
Working with a construction lawyer
Your construction lawyer should not only help you navigate the different moving parts of the law but also bulletproof your business operation and fight for you should a dispute result in commercial litigation. Your lawyer should have an overarching focus on how to manage your legal and commercial risk through contract drafting but also advise you on a variety of areas of law throughout the project lifecycle, including:
How To Hire The Right Construction Lawyer?
I have an entire post on this topic but it’s such an important topic so, I’ll briefly go over it here.
Apart from their educational background and qualifications, lawyers can come with varying degrees of experience across multiple construction sectors and areas. Before you even begin a new project, you’ll need to find a construction lawyer who has solid experience and track record in the type of project you’re involved in. This will ensure you get the most out of their experience, time and fees. You can do your research but it’s equally important to directly ask them what their experience has been in the past and ascertain its relevance to your work.
Keep your focus on what value they can bring rather than how much they can cost you. A great construction lawyer will end up saving you hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars and most importantly, allow your project to progress smoothly and on time.
The body of law and the rules regulating the code of conduct and business practices pertaining to the construction sector is called construction law. There are regulations set out by the federal, states and local entities that will impact your business operation. To ensure your business and projects are successful, every construction business needs to have the right lawyer or team of lawyers guiding the business throughout its journey.
Who is Lazarus Legal?
A Construction Law Firm can make the ultimate difference for your business. At Lazarus Legal, we work with a range of clients across many sectors – helping them thrive and grow but most importantly, fight and win their battles.