Painting and decorating disputes regularly feature in matters dealt with by the Tribunal.
Painting and decorating adds the final touches to any new home or renovation. The work is generally the last to be undertaken on any project, it is almost always undertaken over surfaces prepared/supplied by other trades, and painters are expected to ‘make good’ every defect and blemish in the substrate. An added difficulty is that painters will seldom have exclusive possession and control of the work site and will often be required to work in sub-optimum conditions with other trades working around and over them creating dust and damaging finished surfaces.
On the other hand, some painting contractors lack the necessary skills and/or fail to have adequate quality assurance processes in place to ensure they achieve the agreed/specified finish, and/or to complete their work by the due date for completion.
In the circumstances, it is little wonder that painting disputes are commonplace. There are essentially two types of disputes that we deal with:
- technical (in the legal sense) disputes – ie disputes that arise out of non-compliance with the technical requirements for making and responding to payment claims under the Construction Contracts Act 2002 (the Act); and
- merits based disputes – ie disputes about the merits of the parties’ arguments in terms of the construction contract that governs their relationship, or in the case of a contract with a residential occupier, the statutory warranties that are implied into every residential building contract under s362I of the Building Act regardless of whether there is a written building contract. Typical merits based painting disputes include disputes in relation to:
- non-payment for work undertaken;
- contract interpretation – what the parties actually agreed;
- scope of work;
- quality of work;
- quality of materials;
- time for completion;
- payment – the value of the work undertaken in the absence of express agreement as to price;
- estimates v actual cost;
- variations – whether certain work is in fact a variation to the agreed scope of work and the value of that varied work;
- defective work;
- scope and cost of rectification work;
- repudiation/cancellation of the contract; and
- damages for breach of contract.