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Newsletter No. 1 November 2003

Since the launch of the Norman A. Faifer & Associates Professional Building & Construction Services entity in July/Aug 2003 we have promoted ourselves within the building and construction industry initially targeting the legal fraternity. The readily available Law Institute Diary provided us with the lists of barristers and solicitors to whom we should send our credentials etc. in addition to those firms and persons we knew from other professional organisations and industry contracts along with our local knowledge of the building scene.

Reaction from and acceptance by lawyers has been most encouraging and by publishing a high quality brochure and business card which in practice matches the quality of our experience, qualification and expertise has been rewarding. We aimed to demonstrate that our investment in the industry was one where we were happy to put our money where our mouth (and action) is.

In the past few months, in accord with societies expectation that all professionals undertake continuing professional development (CPD), I have attended (and gained) the Master Builders Association of Victoria's (MBAV) Certificate III in Occupational Health and Safety which incorporated the Construction Industry Safety Supervisor Course and the Construction Industry Basic (Red Card) Induction Training.

I have attended both the Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators Australia (IAMA) Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2002 Adjudicators Accreditation Training Course and the MBAV's seminar on the Act and have been appointed to the MBAV's adjudicator's panel. I have also attended a Building Practitioners Disputes Society (BPDS) seminar on VCAT procedures.

During the past period I have been engaged in several interesting cases one being:

A project home builder (PHB) designs and prices the construction of a new home. The Owner approves the design and cost and a standard domestic building contract is drawn up by the PHB and both the Owner and the PHB execute the document. However the PHB is not the registered building practitioner (RBP) whose name and number appears in the document, nor does the actual RBP sign the contract - the PHB signs instead.

The Owner is unaware that there is an agreement between the PHB and the RBP. The Owner deals with the PHB and claims and payments flow between them until such time as the Owner becomes aware that there is tension between the PHB and RBP and that the progress of the works has fallen grossly behind and have finally stopped.

In fact the RBP writes to the owner direct requesting that no further claims be paid to the PHB as there is a) a gross over claim and b) the PHB has not paid the RBP nor has allowed him to exercise any site control over the suppliers and sub contractors who are employed by the PHB.

In addition to the works being over time, the full gamut of incomplete, outstanding and defective works together with unapproved variations, extensions of time and other matters have arisen.

The whole arrangement appears odd: the PHB employs a Registered Building Practitioner, Draftsman but are not themselves a Registered Building Practitioner - Domestic Builder Manager or otherwise and other matters connected therewith also appear dysfunctional and out of kilter. Following our involvement several other Owners dealing with the same PHB (with the same RBP arrangement) have come forward expressing similar (or worse) problems.

The RBP agreed to complete the works without further reference to the PHB, the RBP will handle their relationship with the PHB separately which may well lead to other action.

Finally, in recognition of 33 years involvement in the building industry, commencing as a student member of the Australian Institute of Building (AIB) in 1971, the AIB has recently elevated me to the grade of Fellow (FAIB) of the Institute. I am honored by the recognition and advancement

Note that our website has been launched and looks great !! Please hit it, I look forward to hearing from you as to how I may assist with solving your next building problem, do it today !! (Phone: (03) 9509 8364)