Home Owners Expert Claimed Excessive Sums to the Owner Detriment

12/05/2015

Since 2014 Watson and Watson have been involved three(3) cases in which the Consultants engaged by either the Owner or the experienced Solicitor on behalf of the Owner had provided estimates of the cost of rectification which were highly overstated.   In our view the overstated estimates of the costs of rectification of alleged defective work has been devastating for the Owner who made a claim in each of the matters. 

Care is required in the selection by the Owner or Builder for the appropriate Building Consultant to give evidence relating to the building works.

Watson and Watson have in excess of 25 years experience in engaging appropriate experts in all Building and Construction matters.

In each of the following cases the Owner spent large sums on Lawyers and Building Consultants in preparing their case.  In each the outcome for the Owner in our view has been devastating. 

In the first case the Building Consultants on behalf of the Owner assessed the cost of rectification of the claimed defective work at approximately $300,000.  We acted on behalf of the Builder.  We engaged a Building Consultant who assessed the cost of rectification of the defective work at less than $30,000. 

In the second case the Owner claimed in excess of $92,000 which was based on a Building Consultant who claimed that the cost of rectification of the alleged defective works the subject of the claim was in excess of $92,000.  We acted on behalf of the Builder.  The Tribunal reduced the Owner’s claim and awarded the Owner $18,071.

In the third case the Building Consultant engaged on behalf the Owner assessed the cost of rectification of the claimed defective works in the order of $40,000.00.  We acted on behalf of the Builder.   The Tribunal reduced the Owners claim and awarded an amount less than $5,000 to the Owner

We understand that the Owner paid in excess of $150,000 for legal and Building Consulting costs.  The matter was settled by the Builder agreeing to pay a significant sum (namely less than $100,000.00) which was less than the Owner had incurred in legal and Building Consulting fees.   

The above cases involved different Building Consultants on behalf of the Owner in each case.  Those Building Consultants practice regularly in cases which have been heard and determined by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) or its predecessor Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT). 

In our view Building Consultants experienced in matters that come before NCAT or CTTT or other Tribunals should be able to assess to a relatively reasonable degree what will be allowed and what would not be allowed at a contested Hearing.  Without this information the Owner cannot make a proper assessment as to the viability of proceeding with a claim, the viability of settling on terms that may be available from the Builder or other party against whom the claim is made, making an offer, the ascertainment of a proper offer to settle the matter and other matters relating to the process and conduct of the matter.   

Similarly it is critical that the Builder who is in receipt of a claim receive proper  independent Building Consultant and legal advice so that the Builder is able to ascertain the likely outcome of the proceedings. 

At Watson and Watson at an early stage we encourage all participants in the process no matter whether they are an Owner or a Builder or Owner Builder or any other party who find themselves in the dispute to obtain the proper Independent Expert advice from the appropriately qualified Expert. 

It is false hope for a party to engage an Expert who will make assertions which will not be accepted at the Tribunal which will hear the matter if it is not settled.

At Watson and Watson we have many years experience in dealing with Building and Construction matters and in particular engaging with appropriate Experts to provide the appropriate advice necessary for the Owner and/or Building make proper considered decisions. 

In each of the matters referred to above the selection of the appropriate Expert on behalf of the Builder was critical to the success of the Builder in defending the excessive claims made by the Owners in each of the cases. 

Richard Watson can assist you in considering the appropriate evidence and engaging the appropriate Expert for your case. 

If you find yourself in any dispute relating to a building matter it is most likely that an Expert in the appropriate field will be required.  Please contact Richard Watson to advise you and assist you in relation to the proper selection and proper conduct of the proceedings.

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