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Daniel, Solicitor
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 5451
Experience:  Bachelor of Laws (dist) Graduate Diploma in Legal Practise. Admitted NSW Supreme Court / High Court
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Variations to domestic building contracts: Context: our

Customer Question

Variations to domestic building contracts:
Context: our house is being renovated - floor and wooden skeleton being kept.
If the builder hasn't costed something that is shown on a technical (electrical/lighting) drawing referred to in a spec/scope of works and is expecting us (the owner) to sign a variation which will increase the fixed price of the contract, where does the owner stand legally?
The builder discovered some insulation in the roof cavity which he felt needed to be removed carefully and involved a series of extra activities being undertaken to clean up the space - which the builder hadn't anticipated. He is expecting us to sign a variation but we think that taking the house back to its skeleton is already covered in the contract. He had an asbestos report but didn't read a section which said that they had not looked in the roof. The substance is not asbestos.. It's some kind of paper product. Should he take responsibility for not planning for the additional work? Where do we stand legally?
We are not out to persecute our builder - he is a very nice chap. Used to running cost plus contracts ( not fixed price) my husband and I just need to be able to understand what are acceptable variations and what are not......
Look forward to your comments.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Daniel replied 9 months ago.

Well, legally, he should have known that some of the insulation needed to be removed to undertake such works.
He is a builder, thus needs to factor some of these into a quote initially, as its their job.

In short, no, you need not sign the undertaking, unless upon agreement and was something totally not obvious / unforeseen to the builder.

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