Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria (DBDRV) provides services to help resolve disputes between home owners and builders. Before you access DBDRV’s services, it is a legislative requirement that you first try to resolve the dispute with the other party yourself.
Before you apply for DBDRV’s service
Confirm that our service is right for you. Your building dispute may not be eligible if it relates to a certain type of work (for example just plumbing or painting) that is not part of a contract covering other building work. You can read more about where to raise these types of disputes on our Ineligible disputes page.
For your dispute to be eligible for our service, you must have taken reasonable steps to resolve the dispute directly with the other party within the last three months.
What are reasonable steps?
Before lodging your dispute with us, you must have, at a minimum:
- tried to contact the other party to raise your concerns, repeatedly if they did not respond
- engaged with the other party, if they are willing to do so, to try and resolve your issue; and
- preferably advised the other party that you intend to lodge an application with DBDRV’s dispute resolution service.
You should also ensure that you are aware of your rights and comply with your obligations. For more information and advice you can view our Other helpful services page.
Tips to resolve your dispute
You are more likely to resolve your dispute by organising a structured and calm discussion, rather than demanding that the other person do what you want.
Step 1: Try to resolve the dispute yourself by raising the issue with the other party. Keep copies of all relevant documents (for example, contracts, invoices and written communications).
You should also consider:
- keeping a record of all conversations you have had with the other party
- taking photographs of work that is the subject of your dispute.
Step 2: If the other party responds, try to arrange a face-to-face meeting. Keep communication channels open and constructive, and provide the key points of the issue(s) to the other party before the meeting. This will give them an opportunity to prepare.
If you meet face-to-face:
- remain calm, focusing on the issue(s) and not the person
- look for solutions you can both accept.
Step 3: If you reach an agreement, write down the details and send the other party a copy, asking them to check if they agree with it.
If you cannot resolve the issue(s) consider writing to the other party. Outline all remaining issues and set a reasonable deadline for them to respond.
By putting your concerns in writing, you will have a record of your discussions. You can show this to us if you choose to take your complaint further. It demonstrates that you have taken reasonable steps to resolve the dispute yourself.
If you can’t agree, or do not receive a response from the other party
If you do not receive a response within a reasonable timeframe despite making repeated attempts, or the other party refuses to engage with you, you may be eligible for our service.
Before you apply, confirm the details of the other party, especially if you have not received a response.
If you do not have the contact details for the other party, you can:
- search social media, yellow and white pages
- search the Australian Government’s Australian Business Register
- search the database of building practitioners maintained by the Victorian Building Authority, if the other party is a registered builder
- request a current company search from the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, if the other party is a corporate entity.
If you cannot provide current contact details for the other party, DBDRV may not be able to progress your matter.
Apply for DBDRV's service
If your dispute is suitable for our service, you may submit an online application for dispute resolution.