Please refer to the return to campus page for more information on these delivery modes and students who can enrol in each mode based on their location in first half year 2021.
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Every year, about half of the value of construction activity in Australia relates to the construction and renovation of dwellings. The law relating to this activity is complex and multi-layered, involving difficult policy questions and significant statutory and regulatory intervention. These impact throughout the community. Despite this, residential construction law has, until recently, received relatively little attention from the majority of construction law practitioners. This subject seeks to address this deficiency and introduce students to an evolving area of construction law in a comparative context. Its focus is on Australia (primarily Victoria) but perspectives are offered from other members of the common law family of legal systems. The subject lecturers are Dr Matthew Bell (whose recently-awarded PhD was on residential construction regulation) and Suzanne Kirton (Senior Member, VCAT, with extensive practising experience in residential construction law).
Principal topics include:
- The regulatory problem of residential construction
- Common law rights and remedies
- The legislative and regulatory response
- The contractual matrix for residential construction
- Key issues in bringing residential construction claims
- How a residential building dispute is resolved in Victoria
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Understand in a comparative context the aims and methods of the law as it applies to the delivery of residential construction projects
- Be familiar with the interaction between private and public law in regulating the process of construction in a residential context
- Have a detailed understanding of the problems of bringing legal actions for defects in the context of residential developments
- Appreciate the impact within residential construction of special legal protection for parties treated by the law as weaker in bargaining terms
- Understand the impact and usefulness of applicable insurance and warranty schemes and their effect in ensuring quality of construction and in offering claims resolution systems
- Be familiar with the procedural, funding and management issues which impact on litigation for housing defects
- Be aware of legal and quasi-legal governmental interventions in relation to housing construction, repairs and improvements via registration and accreditation schemes
- Be able to contribute meaningfully to ongoing debates about optimal ways of dealing with these matters at a policy level.
Last updated: 11 February 2021