Understanding the Building Commission and SAT

Navigating the intricacies of the Building Commission and the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) can be a complex and unpredictable journey. Unlike the Rule of Law, where a clear separation of powers exists between the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary, matters within these bodies are handled at the executive level. This unique approach may not involve established laws, making outcomes less predictable compared to traditional courts where precedents apply.

The system’s subjectivity is further heightened by the varying outcomes that depend on the individuals presiding over the case on any given day. Recent experiences highlight the challenges faced by homeowners seeking resolution. In one instance, a complaint was filed eight months prior, involving incomplete work. The initial inspection by a Building and Energy (B & E) inspector deemed the complaint dismissible, citing incomplete work. However, the homeowner’s grievance centred precisely around this incomplete work. The builder, seeking 90% payment of the project’s costs at ‘Roof Cover,’ a departure from the typical contractual arrangement, complicated the matter.

As a seasoned judge for the Building Industry’s annual awards, I’ve encountered thousands of contracts, and such deviations are far from typical. The case is now scheduled for mediation in March 2024, emphasising the time-consuming nature of these proceedings.


In light of these challenges, I want to highlight the necessity of involving an expert witness in such circumstances. The costs associated with obtaining expert insights are crucial to consider:

Initial inspection and report:                                             $400.00
Each subsequent inspection:                                            $400.00
Final inspection for a full hearing:                                    $800.00
Attendance at the final hearing to affirm opinion:         $800.00

Navigating Building Dispute Costs

These costs accumulate quickly, underscoring the importance of prudence in engaging these services. While the government may provide a seemingly cost-free alternative, the delays and uncertainties within their system can incur significant hidden expenses. Be mindful of the potential financial impact and ensure that your decision to utilise expert witness services is approached with careful consideration. In the intricate realm of construction disputes, strategic and judicious use of these services can make all the difference in achieving a fair and timely resolution.

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