MBA Launches New Dispute Resolution Service

Posted 15 February 2017

MBA Launches New Dispute Resolution Service

Are you having trouble getting paid? Do you have a dispute about building defects or the quality of work? Are the costs of seeking legal advice greater than the value of the dispute? Master Builders ACT has launched a new alternative dispute resolution service aimed at resolving small disputes, quickly and for a low fixed fee.

Calls from members and consumers about building disputes is one of the most common calls made to Master Builders ACT. Each year we receive more than 1,000 calls from members or consumers wanting help to resolve a dispute.

Master Builders ACT Deputy Executive Director Michael Hopkins said “one of the most common scenarios might be a home builder that has not received a final payment because the home owner is dissatisfied with minor defects.

“In a scenario like this the legislated process to resolve disputes can be costly for both parties and take a long time to resolve. Fairly quickly the cost of legal bills can exceed the value being disputed.”

In response to this industry wide problem, Master Builders ACT has launched an alternative dispute resolution service targeting small disputes (up to $40,000 in value). The new service will be available where at least one party involved in the dispute is a member of the MBA, or if an MBA contract is being used. While the service will be voluntarily, and only proceed if both parties agree, there is a strong incentive to use this service.

A fee will be payable to use the service ($990 for disputes up to $20,000 in value or $1,540 for disputes up to $40,000 in value), with both parties required to pay 50% of the fee upfront before the process starts.

A site inspection will be carried out if necessary, before a mediation meeting is held between both parties. If the dispute is resolved at the mediation, a Deed of Settlement and Release will be prepared and signed the same day.

Mr Hopkins said, “with the majority of Master Builders ACT members being small businesses, and most disputes involving relatively small amounts, this service was an ideal alternative to the “lawyers at 10 paces” approach to dispute resolution that often plays out.

“We trialled this service last year resolved the majority of disputes during a mediation meeting.”

For further information about this new service please contact the Master Builders ACT membership team on 6175 5900.

How the Process Works



Either party contacts the MBA about the dispute.


An Alternative Dispute Resolution Agreement is signed by both parties, the fee paid and any supporting information supplied to MBA.


MBA reviews information supplied and conducts a site inspection.


A mediation conference is held.


If a resolution is agreed, both parties sign a Deed of Release.


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