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Claiming Variations under the ACT Home Building Contract


Members are reminded to comply with their obligations under the contract during the course of the construction, in particular, when claiming a variation under the contract. It is important for the builder to identify any work that might be considered a variation before it is undertaken. Members should check their contract in the first instance in determining whether work constitutes a variation. If it’s a variation, make sure to comply with the variation clause to serve any variation notices. Failure to comply with the administrative requirements of the contract might result in you not getting paid for the additional costs that occurred.

Clause 15 of the MBA ACT Home Building Contract (2022 version) allows the contract to be varied by the following circumstances:

  1. extras or omissions;
  2. additional work;
  3. changes in the character or quality of any material or work;
  4. changes in the levels, lines, positions or dimensions of any part of the Works;
  5. changes in the price of trades or materials due to a shortage of trades or materials beyond the control of the Builder; or
  6. extras or missions associated with compliance to altered statutory provisions.

Clause 15 requires a written variation notice must be served on the owner before the variation work is agreed and undertaken. Once the variation notice is served on the owner, the builder must within 10 business days serve a written cost variation notice on the owner for their approval. It is important to comply with the administrative requirement set out in the contract. Otherwise, your variation notice may not be valid and can result in the builder not being paid for the costs variation.

If the variation results in the construction period being extended, make sure to serve a notice on the owner following the Delays and Extensions of Time (clause 13). The builder is required to serve the notice within 5 business days of a delay occurring.

If you need any contract advice, please reach out to our Workplace Relations and Legal Team on (02) 6175 5900.