How do you prove an agreement to vary (or make an alteration) to a contract?
The short answer is to keep written records, including text messages, emails and snail mail. Oral agreements are just as valid as written agreements are however, you need to have something which can be produced that identifies the date, the time and the content of the agreement/alteration. If you keep a diary, write out the agreement in your diary, have everyone sign it and then give everyone a copy of it.
The Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 (Vic) requires a process to be followed to vary plans or specifications. This includes moving a doorway, changing a colour, size of a tile, changing a brand of fixtures, lights, handles, taps, flooring, colour of render, type of brick, or anything relevant to the way the is construction to take place or to have items excluded from the contract.
But what about other changes to an agreement - including time?
Extensions of time for completion of a contract, or suspension of the building works for a particular reason, are discreet provisions in standard industry produced contracts. However, because they are standard terms, many people do not appreciate their importance. You need to understand these provisions effectively.
In summary, both builders and property owners need documented records to prove the terms or variation of the contract.
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This article provides information that is general in nature and is not a substitute for legal advice.