Before you make an application
All home building disputes must be referred in the first instance to NSW Fair Trading before an application can be accepted by NCAT.
You can lodge your home building complaint online or call Fair Trading on 13 32 20. Attach a copy of the letter from Fair Trading and any rectification orders issued with your application form.
NCAT can hear and determine applications lodged by home owners, traders and insurers about residential building work up to the value of $500,000 under the Home Building Act 1989.
‘Home building’ refers to any residential building work done by a building contractor or tradesperson, such as the construction of a new home, building of an extension to an existing home, installation of a swimming pool or a renovation of a bathroom or kitchen.
Common home building disputes include:
Complete the home building application form and lodge with the application fee at your nearest NCAT Registry. Time limits apply. View the current fees and charges.
Home building matters are listed for hearing within 6 weeks (claims up to $30,000) or 8 weeks (claims over $30,000).
If you are making an application about a business or company, please attach a recent ASIC company or business name extract with your application.
Time limits apply to certain home building applications.
For claims for breach of statutory warranties made from 1 March 2015, applications must be lodged:(a) within 6 years for major defects, or(b) 2 years otherwise
For supply of building goods or services to or for the claimant, applications must be lodged:(a) Within 3 years of the last supply or(b) If not supplied, within 3 years from the date supply was required.
For all other claims relating to a contract or collateral contract, within 3 years from the date of the contract.
Appeals about insurance claims must be lodged within 10 years from completion of the work. Generally appeals must be lodged within 45 days of written notification by the insurer that the claim has been rejected.
Under the Home Building Act 1989, the Tribunal is to have regard to the principle that rectification of defective work by the responsible party is the preferred outcome (s.48MA). The Tribunal may make an order even if it is not the order that the applicant asked for (s.48O).
NCAT is required to provide NSW Fair Trading with a copy of all orders made against a builder or licensed tradesperson. Learn more about Enforcing home building orders.
A Scott Schedule is a form which allows parties to itemise defective and incomplete works which are the subject of a home building dispute. They are generally used in complex home building matters and/or where there are a number of defects.
If a Scott Schedule is required, instructions concerning its use will be given by the Tribunal Member at hearing.
Scott Schedule forms can be accessed from the Forms page in PDF or RTF editable format.
Lodge your home building application online.
NCAT can only hear matters where legislation gives it the power to do so. To decide whether your matter can be dealt with by NCAT, view the list of legislation which gives this Division jurisdiction.
If you are thinking about lodging a claim in the Consumer and Commercial Division and both you and the other party are natural persons (not a company or government agency) and one of you is a permanent resident of a State other than NSW, NCAT may not be able to decide your case.
Fees and charges
Home building case studies
Getting legal advice or assistance
Home Building Act 1989
Procedural Direction - Acceptance of home building claims [PDF 36kB]
Procedural Direction - Expert witnesses [PDF 45kB]
Guideline - Home Building Applications [PDF 58kB]
Watch our series of
online videos to learn more about NCAT 's services.
NSW Fair Trading
Home Building Advocacy Service (HoBAS)
Australian Institute of Building
Housing Industry Association (HIA)
Master Builders Association NSW
Master Plumbers Association of NSW
Australian Institute of Architects (NSW Chapter)
Property Council of Australia