With extensive experience in the management and resolution of building and construction disputes, the BDTSA is fast becoming is fast becoming a recognised and respected entity.

The BDTSA provides nationwide services to the building and construction industry as well as members of the general public.
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General Building Disputes

Most building disputes arise from poor contractual documentation and/or defective work or material.


When one concludes a building contract, the expectations are high, even unrealistic and rarely well thought through with budgets that prove to be unrealistic. It is clear that most of the problems can arise before the commencement of the actual building work itself.


The initial quotations, before the conclusion of the contract, will often omit critical items of work that must be completed before the main project can be completed for which a contract gets concluded. This usually leads to conflict between the contractual parties.


When working with a budget, the owner or contracting party, will rarely leave room for the unexpected hidden expenses. This creates tension when the owner wants any changes made to the plan or agreed on contract, all the while expecting the contractor to stay in the original budget.


On the other hand, mistakes and errors are a common feature of any building related work and some contractors lack the necessary skills and expertise for the work they are contracted to do.


For these reasons it is clear to understand why disputes are a regular occurrence in the building environment.


The most common areas in which building disputes arise is as follow: contractual interpretation, variations, delays, valuations and defective work.

Technical (in the legal sense) disputes – these are disputes that arise out of non-compliance with the technical requirements for making and responding to payments.

Merit based disputes are disputes about the merits of the parties arguments in terms of the construction contract that governs their relationship.


Remember that the contract could be orally or in writing. For obvious reasons a written contract is the first prize as oral contracts are sometime difficult to prove.

Typical merits-based disputes include disputes in relation to:


• non-payment for work undertaken;
• contract interpretation – what the parties actually agreed;
• scope of work;
• quality of work;
• quality of materials;
• time for completion;
• estimates vs actual cost;
• variations – whether certain work is in fact a variation to the agreed scope of work and the value of that varied work;
• defective work;
• scope and cost of rectification work.