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Compensation for Stress and Suffering under the Building Services (Complaint Resolution and Administration) Act 2011 (WA)

Compensation for Stress and Suffering under the Building Services (Complaint Resolution and Administration) Act 2011 (WA)

By Jason O’Meara, Lawyer

On 14 November 2016, the State Administrative Tribunal delivered its decision in Dumbreck v Tangent Nominees Pty Ltd [2016] WASAT 138 where the Applicant claimed compensation for stress, inconvenience and suffering associated with building work not being carried out in a proper and proficient manner, and building work being faulty or unsatisfactory.

The Tribunal was required to consider whether a building remedy under section 36(1)(c) of the Building Services (Complaint Resolution and Administration) Act 2011 (WA) (“BSCRA Act”) could extend to a damages claim for stress, inconvenience or suffering.

In determining whether general damages could be awarded under section 36(1)(c) of the BSCRA Act, the SAT found, inter alia, that

  1. the purpose of the BSCRA Act was for remedying faulty work either by the person who carried out the work or by someone else. Alternatively, monetary compensation can be awarded in lieu of a remedial order;
  2.  The Explanatory Memorandum of the BSCRA Act provides an explanation of Parliament’s intentions of the purpose of section 36, which makes no reference of allowing for general damages claims; and
  3. The BSCRA Act was intended to provide a cost effective platform for the swift resolution of complaints relating to faulty or unsatisfactory building work whilst complaints relating to breach of contract can remain in a court of competent jurisdiction.

On the above basis, the SAT dismissed the application for an order for compensation for stress, inconvenience and suffering.

CS Legal offers advice and assistance with building services complaints and contractual issues. Contact Jason O’Meara on (08) 9476 4407 for more information.

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