Building and construction projects are no easy feat. At a minimum, these projects require significant planning, paperwork, finance, project management and patience. These factors apply as much to commercial construction as its residential counterpart. It also means taking care of various legal considerations, including making a contract with a builder.  In those moments, master builder’s contracts can be a great help. If you need information on what is a master builder’s contract, this article details what they are and why they are useful.

What is a Master Builder?

A master builder is a builder who is a member of a Master Builder’s Association. These associations exist in all Australian states and territories. They work in the building and construction industry and actively comment on and promote the interests of the industry and their members. They provide essential services to their members in areas as diverse as training, industrial relations, employment standards, building codes and standards as well as various legal services.

To become a master builder, a builder must first satisfy all educational and training qualifications required by an association. They may have to undertake additional training for accreditation. They must also maintain and improve their skills even after certification. A master builder does not necessarily imply that a builder works only on large-scale, commercial projects. Master Builders can be small or bigger companies, specialist or generalist and work in the commercial or residential sectors. Master builders can also be sub-contractors. What defines a master builder is that once accredited, a consumer knows that they have a particular level of knowledge and skills. You also know that the builder must work according to a Strict Code of Conduct. Their work must be of the highest standard.

The knowledge and skills that a builder must have to become a master builder encompass areas such as relevant laws, regulations and codes applicable to the building industry. They must always act with integrity and be fair and honest in all their dealings with other professionals and the public. In short, certification is a signal to the market about what a builder can do and how they must work.

What is a Master Builder’s Contract?

A master builder’s contract is a standard, ready-made contract that a consumer can purchase from an association for their building needs. There are various kinds of contracts available covering a variety of projects. Contracts can be for commercial and residential building. They also make contracts for situations involve sub-contracting.

Why use a Master Builder’s Contract?

The reason that a consumer or business would use a master builder’s contract is that lawyers have drafted these contracts with the needs of a building project in mind and tailored them for that context. They are ethical and equitable such that the contract allocates risks fairly and clearly delineates obligations. Most importantly, all these contracts abide by relevant building laws. For example, in Queensland, all master builder’s contracts conform with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (Qld).

These contracts are a good idea because they can save consumers and builders expense without sacrificing quality. As lawyers draft them from within the industry, they have features and obligations of which other, less experienced solicitors might not be aware. That means that difficulties particular to construction are more likely to be catered for and thus solvable as per the contract than through legal dispute. Problems are resolvable more cheaply and speedily than otherwise.  Most importantly, their comprehensiveness means they are a kind of safeguard for inexperienced consumers. All Master Builder’s Contracts are available online.

Key Takeaways

If an architect is going to administer your building project, the Master Builders Australia Ltd and the Australian Institute of Architects have jointly produced a series of contracts applicable to those projects. These are called the Australian Building Industry Contracts and can be purchased online from state and territory as well as the National Master Builder’s Associations. Contracts are available from the Australian Institute of Architects as well. Contact LegalVision’s contract lawyers to assist you. Questions? Call us on 1300 544 755.

Carole Hemingway

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