RANZ Dispute Service and Tips

RANZ runs a disputes service in the event that a member and member's client require such support. Contact us for more information. 

Resolution tips – A checklist when working through a dispute.

Read through the following checklist. These are some of the most common reasons for a dispute. Ask yourself if you have done everything you can to resolve the situation before involving the Association.

Poor communication is often the key element leading to a dispute

  • Have you (the client) communicated the problem clearly and calmly to the member?
  • If not, you should do so formally in writing. Provide an explanation and details of your concerns/complaint and request a site meeting with the company to inspect the work and discuss your concerns.
  • Dispute resolution is usually a listening exercise for all concerned. The member listening to what you consider is not right and then you (the client) listening and understanding what you have been told about the issue.
  • Has the member adequately investigated and responded to your concerns in a professional and timely manner?
  • Has the member returned to site and rectified any problems and/or completed the job satisfactorily?
  • Does RANZ need to be involved if the problem has been rectified?

 

Conduct

  • Have you (either party) handled the situation as amicably as you could have?
  • Have you (either party) been unfair and/or unreasonable in your approach?
  • Has everyone kept their cool? It is easy to become emotive on both sides of a dispute. Sometimes the ability to be rational is lost when emotions are involved.
  • Have you given any cause for why a possible conflict/stalemate exists, e.g. unfair accusations, abuse, interference, confrontational conduct?
  • If so, is it possible for you to reconsider your actions, put aside any aggravating circumstances that may have existed and make a renewed approach to the member to avoid involvement of the Association and unnecessary costs to either.
  • Be careful getting others to look at the work in question. Using an opposition company requires the opposition company to be impartial-seldom does this happen. The opinions of any report provider should be backed up with references to industry documents which, set out the expected outcomes. Photographs with accurate descriptions are helpful for all concerned.

The Client

  • Notwithstanding there may be some defects with the installation requiring attention, have you or have you not made progress payment as requested by the Member in accordance with the payment terms & conditions of the contract?
  • Are you withholding all or what could be considered an unreasonable portion of the contract sum pending satisfactory completion?
  • Is this the probable reason why the member is reluctant to proceed further and the likely reason for an impasse?
  • If so, we recommend as a ‘good faith’ commitment and to move through any impasse, that you agree to make a progress payment in accordance with your contractual obligations. By this stage of the contract, the member would have purchased and paid suppliers for materials used on the contract and paid staff and/or contractors’ wages. Although a dispute may have arisen and further work is required, it is not normally acceptable practice to withhold full payment unless in the unlikely event that the installation is so poor that it would be deemed totally negligent.

Withholding Payment

In the case of a residential contract with the consumer where there is debate over withholding payment until remedial work has been completed, we recommend an appropriate sum be mutually agreed. The Association considers 20% of the contract sum on a residential contract as fair and reasonable.

However, payment should not be withheld if there has been a legitimate payment claim, which has not been contested by a legitimate payment schedule disputing the claim as per the Construction Contracts Act 2002 and any subsequent amendments.

The role of RANZ

In most instances RANZ tries to get the parties to resolve their dispute without the need to instigate the full complaint process. If it has reached that point then the customer-client relationship has usually failed with neither party particularly willing to re-engage. However, that is usually what is required to get issues resolved.

It gets very complicated if the original roofing company does not complete any rectification work. Warranties can be impacted. Any subsequent work would not be warranted by the original roofer obviously. Will it be easy to identify who has done subsequent work? Both your original roofer and the subsequent roofer may disagree as to who did what if there is a future problem.

RANZ will try and point out what the required standard should be by reference to various industry documents. These documents may include but not limited too: E2/AS1, Manufacturer’s instructions, Codes of Practice, How to Guides and Guidance to Tolerances and Workmanship. RANZ also holds it’s members to a Code of Conduct.

Ultimately it will be at the discretion of RANZ as to whether the member has met the threshold for a full Dispute Process involving the Disputes Committee. The Disputes Committee is selected by the RANZ Executive who are experienced in the industry and voluntarily offer their assistance.

Our goal is to get the member and their client back to where they should have been before the dispute started.