New year, new services!

It’s funny how at the end of the year all you can think about is having a break, maybe going on a holiday and the fun the festive season will bring. However, it seems Omicron may have had different plans, and not all of us were able to enjoy the break that we had been looking forward to. With surging case numbers, it started to look like 2022 may not be any better than the last couple of years.

But rather than focus on the negativity of the current situation, we have decided to stay positive, focus on the things we can control and channel our energy into some exciting projects for 2022!

This year is already shaping up to be a busy one, with a lot of work being carried over from last year. Below is just a snapshot into some of the areas we are assisting clients:

  • Unfortunately, 2021 saw many builders go into administration (whether voluntary or involuntary) which left some owners without a builder. We are assisting clients with their Domestic Building Insurance claims with VMIA and also assisting clients negotiate new building contracts with new builders.
  • Representing clients in both the Supreme Court, County Court, VCAT and also DBDRV in relation to:
    • Building disputes relating to defective building works; slab movement; adequate site drainage. These cases are complex and involve large volumes of documents, expert evidence, witness statements by clients and/or their representatives/contractors. They are also very lengthy given the delays in the Courts and Tribunal at the moment, so during the process we assist clients consider reasonable settlement options
    • 2021 was a difficult year for cashflow for many builders and this saw a rise in payment claim disputes, whether it is representing an owner against a builder who has wrongfully claimed a progress stage (as the staged works are not complete) or whether it’s representing a builder where the owner has not paid the progress claim. This may include where the owners have wrongfully taken possession of the property prior to payment and/or repudiated the contract by not complying with their contractual obligations
  • Pursuing claims by builders against contractors for recharges arising from the contractor’s defective workmanship or joining contractors to claims issued by owners. As builders may be liable to owners for generally up to a 10-year limitation period in Victoria, there needs to be accountability between the builders and their contractors and/or suppliers to ensure the risk allocation is fair and reasonable. Where a claim is brought against a builder, there may be some instances where such claims arise due to the workmanship of another party (eg, a plumber, registered building surveyor, concreter, carpenter etc). Whilst the builder is still liable for their own obligations under the contract and legislative requirements, we advise and assist builders (or other parties) consider what avenues are available to apportion the liability in appropriate cases
  • 2022 is also a year where businesses are venturing into new areas or extending current services, which requires us to assist our clients by helping them obtain trademarks on new logos, names, slogans. It is exciting to assist clients with their growth and advise them along the way about procurement contracts, terms and conditions, websites, and advertising
  • As many people know, litigation is lengthy and expensive, therefore we facilitate negotiations and settlements between the parties where litigations are not a viable option. Each negotiated outcome depends on the facts and the parties’ appetite to settle
  • Sometimes builders (or third parties) may choose to buy-back the property to avoid litigation, and where this is in the interest of all parties, we will negotiate such settlements, and now that we offer conveyancing services, we act as conveyancers to prepare the necessary contracts and documentation and finalise the settlement
  • Some clients are seeing 2022 as an opportunity to grow their business, and they are purchasing land to build a display home. We assist our clients by reviewing their display village contract of real estate and again as we now provide conveyancing services, we act as our client’s conveyancers to finalise the settlement of the property
  • Building projects are complex and during the project a client may wrongfully terminate the contract (amounting to a repudiation of the contract) or may issue an invalid notice. We provide timely advice to our clients to guide them throughout the duration of their project. Likewise, we advise our clients and prepare the required notices for clients who wish to end contracts during a project (or before the works have commenced) to ensure the proper process is followed to avoid a breach of the contractual requirements. Our aim is to assist our clients manage their projects to avoid unnecessary litigation where possible
  • Assisting clients respond to VBA investigations for breaches of registration obligations or breaches of legislation

As we indicated at the end of last year, we have introduced two new areas – Conveyancing and Probate. This is largely due to Hannah Smith joining our firm. With the combination of Donna’s 10+ years’ experience in conveyancing added with Hannah’s extensive experience, this is an area we can offer our clients. Likewise with probate, Hannah has practiced in probate law for many years so this will see a fuller service offered to clients who engage Spectrum Lawyers & Consultants for their Wills.

So, although 2022 may not look exactly how we expected it to, we are entering the new year with a positive mindset and we are excited to be able to assist our clients in a broader spectrum of areas.

Feel free to reach out to us with any questions on how we might be able to assist you.

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