Building disputes are a real nightmare for property owners. Whether it’s a disagreement about an alteration, project scope or the dreaded budget blowout, the very last thing you want is a drawn out disagreement with a stubborn builder!
However, building disputes are a tricky matter, and require the best construction law firms to navigate what can be a frustrating process. But to find the right team you have to ask the right questions, or you might find yourself with a subpar, unspecialised lawyer who doesn’t know their bonds from their contracts.
With this in mind, here are five imperative questions to ask your prospective building lawyer:
- Do you have the necessary certification?
Construction law firms require a high level of certification to be able to offer a first class service. This legal study – like other specialised branches – is very complex and requires a specialised team to handle disputes. Building disputes come in all shapes and forms, and if the matter can’t be resolved between you and the builder then it will likely go further into a convoluted argument that requires highly certified professionals in your corner.
So, the first thing you need to ask your prospective team is, “do you have the certification to provide this service?”
- Are they a specialised construction law firm?
Because you don’t want some jack of trades lawyer with no specialised training or experience handling what can be a rather complex dispute. You want a team with intrinsic industry knowledge and experience who can handle the complex matters that may arise throughout these proceedings.
So, it is always recommended that you go with a team who works specifically in the area, and not who applies a bit of building knowledge here and a little bit of criminal law there – you simply won’t end up with an experienced practitioner in your corner!
- How long have you been in the industry?
An experienced team will have many years in the industry and will be able to tell you all about it. They will have seen and handled all kinds of disputes: alterations, budgetary, natural disaster, scope, everything! And given that they should have experienced most of what construction law can throw at them, they should be able to have a working idea of how they can handle your case in real time.
This means that when you tell the prospective team about your dispute they will be able to think up an idea of how they could potentially go about rectifying the issue right there and on the spot, or at least have a framework of how to facilitate the best outcome on your behalf!
- Will you handle my case?
Many legal organisations around Australia will host an initial consultation with their experienced practitioners before palming off the case to someone with less experience. Whilst this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, you might actually find that the person who held your initial consultation is the one you want handling this unfortunate proceeding.
So be sure to ask them if they will be the one to take your problem to a positive outcome.
- Are you swamped with other cases?
If the prospective lawyer is already neck deep in previous cases, it is likely that they won’t have the time to properly represent you in a court of law. It is important to know that your prospective lawyer has the time to properly work through your case, so don’t be afraid to ask them about their current workload if your matter is truly pressing!