Building and construction

Before you apply – Building and construction disputes

Domestic or commercial building disputes between a property owner, builder, sub-contractor, architect, engineer or other building practitioner – or any combination of these.

Disputes between a property owner and a warranty insurer.

Before you apply

Find out if you're in the right place

What we can help with

What we can't help with

Can’t see what you’re looking for?

Get help and advice before you apply

We can help you understand how to apply. We cannot give you legal advice or tell you what to write in your application. These organisations may be able to help you.

Building Information Line

Information and advice about building and renovating.

Justice Connect Domestic Building Legal service

Free legal services for building owners experiencing disadvantage.

Tell us more about your dispute
We’ll explain fees, timeframes and get you into the right application
What is your dispute about?
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Help and support

  • We can help you understand what the form is asking. If you need to help to fill in the VCAT application form, talk to us.

    • Call us on 1300 018 228 (1300 01 VCAT), Monday - Friday 9am - 4.30pm. For guardianship cases call us 9am - 5pm.
    • If you’re overseas, call us on +61 3 8685 1462.
    • If you need to speak to someone in your own language you can ask for an interpreter. Call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.

    We can:

    • ask you questions about what you want
    • explain what the questions mean
    • explain what documents you need
    • explain the process.

    We can’t give you legal advice. This means we can’t:

    • tell you what to write
    • give you advice on how to present your case
    • give you advice on how to win the case.

    If you do choose to get legal advice, you’ll need to pay their fees (if any).

    If you want to talk about what you should do, you can access free or low-cost legal advice or find a private lawyer.

    See also What support can I get on the day at VCAT?

  • Sometimes we order someone to do or stop doing something temporarily.

    This is called an interim injunction. Applying for an interim injunction is serious. You must explain to us why the situation is urgent, for example it will cause major damage.

    If you think you need an interim injunction, make sure you’re able to show some important reasons for your application. Include these issues when you apply, or be ready to deal with them at the urgent hearing.

    Find out more about how to apply for an injunction

  • If you are making a claim against a business or company you need to provide ASIC extract with your application. It confirms you’re taking legal action against the right person and the address is correct. We can't progress your application without it.

    ASIC Current Company Extract

    You must buy this document if your dispute is with a company. It confirms you're taking legal action against the right company and that the registered address is correct. To do this:

    If you need help, call ASIC on 1300 300 630.

    ASIC Business Names Extract

    You must buy this document if your dispute is with a business.  It confirms you're taking legal action against the right business holder and that the business address is correct. To do this:

    If you need help, call ASIC on 1300 300 630.

    Incorporated Association Extract

    You must buy this document if your dispute is with an incorporated association. It confirms the incorporated association is registered and your application is sent to the correct contact person and registered address.

    Buy and download the Extract from the Consumer Affairs website

    For help watch the video or call Consumer Affairs Victoria on 1300 55 81 81.

  • VCAT’s fees are set by the Victorian Government.

    We charge fees at VCAT in three categories:

    • standard
    • corporate
    • concession (Health Care Card).

    When you automatically pay no fees

    You don’t have to pay fees if you are:

    • represented by Victoria Legal Aid or a community legal centre
    • under 18 years of age 
    • in a prison or other public institution
    • a protected person or affected family member in a residential tenancies case.

    Who pays the ‘standard’ fee rate?

    People and businesses who pay the standard rate include:

    • individuals
    • sole trader businesses
    • businesses set up as a partnership
    • businesses with a turnover of less than $200,000 in the last financial year
    • not-for-profit organisations.

    If your company wants to apply as a standard fee payer, you need to provide a statutory declaration with your application that proves your turnover is less than $200,000.

    Who pays the ‘corporate’ rate?

    Businesses with a turnover of more than $200,000 in the last full financial year pay the corporate fee rate.

    For example, if you apply in April 2020, use the turnover from the 2018/19 financial year.

    Schools and government organisations are part of this fee category.

    Who pays the ‘concession’ rate?

    VCAT fees are lower if you have a Health Care Card issued by the Federal Government. This is the only card we accept for concession fees.

    Health Care Card

    If you have another type of concession card, you don’t get a concession rate, but you may be eligible for fee relief. This means your fees could be waived, reduced or postponed.

    Pension Concession CardCommonwealth Sentiors Health Card

    Learn more about concessions and fee relief

    If you don’t fit the standard fee payer or a concession fee payer categories, you are automatically categorised as a corporate fee payer (for example, a school or a government department or agency.)

    When you make an application tell us what type of fee payer you are and provide proof of your status.

    The fee payer level applies to any fees payable throughout your case. You must apply separately for each case you want to bring to VCAT.

    If your financial circumstances or applicant type changes, your fees may change too.

    Your fee payer type may change if:

    • your financial circumstances change. For example, if you get a Health Care Card.
    • you change your application to apply as a different person. For example, if you want to apply under your business name and not as an individual.

    Tell us in writing about these changes. Make sure you include a copy of any relevant documents to prove this.

    Find out more about fees

  • VCAT cannot give legal advice. If you do choose to get legal advice, you will need to pay any costs. 

    If you want to talk about what you should do, you can access free or low-cost legal advice or find a private lawyer.
      
    If you want a lawyer or other professional representative to speak on your behalf at VCAT, let the other party know in writing before the hearing and ask permission when the hearing starts. You will need to explain why. 

    For some case types you have an automatic right to representation.

    If the claim is for goods and services under $15,000, we generally don’t allow a lawyer or other professional representative to speak for you at VCAT. 

    If you do choose to get legal advice, you’ll need to pay any costs. 

    Read more about legal and professional representation
     

  • We offer a range of support services including interpreters, disability, security, family violence and Koori support. 

    Make sure you let us know what support you need to early as possible - when you apply to VCAT or get a notice from us.

    If you’ve been in touch with us about support before you come to VCAT, see our customer service staff at the counter or meet the support person at the location you’ve agreed on before the hearing.

    If you are coming to VCAT at King Street, Melbourne and you need support or information, you can visit the free services on Level 5 before the hearing:

    • Court Network volunteers offer free and independent support, information and referral services. They don’t give legal advice.
    • Victoria Legal Aid duty lawyers can help if you are unsure about your options or need advice about your claim.

    You can also contact us by phone, email, post or in person. Our staff can help answer questions about the VCAT process, but they can’t give you legal advice about your case or the outcome.

    Who you can bring to VCAT