Facilitation about unpaid building invoice

Case study

About the case

During the building process for a new home, plans changed. Multiple variations were made to the contact and unique additions were added to the plans. The building project progressed and prior to possession, the homeowner queried some of the amounts invoiced by the builder and sought an explanation for the additional costs.

Unfortunately, these queried amounts were not cleared up and it developed into a dispute whereby the homeowner withheld $80,000 from their final payment. Following failed mediations, unsuccessful legal representation and creditors chasing up the building company for outstanding amounts, the builders reached out to Fair Way for assistance.

How we helped

Fair Way’s facilitator contacted the homeowner and quickly identified that although the parties appeared to be at odds, they had similar interests. The homeowner wanted to move into their new home and the builder wanted to complete this project and manage their cash flow. There was a clearly mutually beneficial outcome of clarifying the issues at hand and arranging for payment to be made for any items not in dispute. Both sides could see value in further exploring the legitimately disputed amounts.

A facilitated discussion was quickly scheduled to avoid the further deterioration of this situation. Preparatory work was done prior to the facilitated sessions to clarify the issues and amounts that were in dispute, and to identify where the parties already agreed without knowing it. The list of disputed amounts was quickly narrowed down and these were individually explored and agreed upon. Structure and focus were important in this facilitation due to the long list of disputed issues and the time required to cover everything that needed to be discussed.


Both parties had a real interest in resolving this matter and arranging possession, therefore the facilitator assisted the parties to reach an agreement whereby 95% of the outstanding balance was paid and possession was arranged within days. Terms were agreed for the outstanding amounts.

When we followed up with the parties, both mentioned how they are now in a vastly better position than before Fair Way had been contacted – the homeowner is now in their new home and the builders have now been paid after months of delays and disputes.