Murray Mcardle’s career includes extensive experience as a General Counsel, Senior Legal Counsel and Senior Commercial Manager with major multinational engineering and construction companies.

Home purchase
If you are about to take the step make sure you get all the proper inspections...

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Travel insurance
I must say I am a great believer in not only getting travel insurance but also...

Read more>
Courts bursting at the seams
We are now told that there is such a backlog in our...

Read more>

Home purchase

So you have bought your house, well done !

In NSW and other states there are laws to protect home owners when they have work done – however it is important to be on top of any issues you might have with your builder/tradesman, and to be clear about your rights and how to enforce those rights !

In NSW the bottom line really is to ensure the work you have done meets the brief you want and is not defective. The legislation gives a consumer some protection when having work done, particularly :

There are quite harsh penalties and possible ramifications for the builder/tradesman if they don’t comply with these requirements. In some circumstances a builder/tradesman may not even be able to ask for payment if the contract doesn’t comply with the legislation.

Okay, so what do you do if you do have a problem with the work you have had done ?

There are basically two categories of defect which could lead to you taking legal action against your builder.
There are ‘major’ defects and ‘any other’ defects.

A ‘major’ defect is generally a defect in a major element of a building but it must also have some serious consequences which are set out in the Home Building Act – such as making the building not able to be inhabited. Again it is important to have an understanding of what make a ‘major’ defect under the legislation.

In Sydney a critical inspection is for termites and termite damage. I know of instances where people have had to rebuild the whole house because of damage from termites. When you are choosing your inspection company make sure they are licensed and insured as otherwise you could find yourself still with a problem and no way of recovering any money from the organisation that did the inspection but did not pick up the costly problem.

If you have any concerns or are interested to know more you should speak to a lawyer that knows and understands this legislation that way you can get the best protection possible and get to know your rights.
If you are about to take the step, make sure you get all the proper inspections by professionals.

Check out my video on this subject

Travel Insurance

I have been very fortunate to travel quite a bit in my work life and to a lesser degree in my personal life.

I must say I am a great believer in not only getting travel insurance but also knowing what it does and does not cover and making sure you get a policy that gives you the protection you might need.

A few weeks ago, I was in Cambodia for a few days and unfortunately I caught a nasty stomach bug. I was at a real risk of missing my fight home because of how sick I was but, although it was not my preferred option, because of the insurance I had in place I was confident that I would be covered for any out of pocket expenses or increase in fare that I had to pay. I would hate to be anywhere outside of my home country without proper and accessible cover.

Another big incident for me happened recently. I was on a ski holiday in the US when I had to call a doctor. One visit, one doctor, one time cost me $US1,000. I was lucky that I had enough funds to pay as he wasn’t interested whether I had insurance and before he would come to see me he wanted to know how I would pay !

I had insurance but I have been surprised at the number of people who don’t have it or don’t know what is actually insured by the policy they have when they are travelling. I was lucky and only needed one visit from the doctor but imagine a stay in hospital in the US or almost anywhere overseas could lead to such huge costs that it may have a permanent impact on your finances.

I had been offered a really cheap policy which I was told was all I needed but I chose to go for the higher cost insurance which meant that I was covered for all but a minimal excess.

I learnt a cheap but valuable lesson. Get travel insurance ! Know what your policy is giving you and make sure you have the funds available to pay upfront if you need some minor medical assistance while overseas.

Check out my video on this subject

Courts bursting at the seams

We are now told that there is such a backlog in our criminal Courts that our gaols are almost bursting at the seams. In NSW it is claimed that it takes on average 300 days for a trial to take place in the District Court if a person is in custody – seems an extraordinary length of time. However, it can take even longer if the defendant is on bail.

I was pleased to read that the NSW government has announced plans to fund a number of measures that it believes will ease the delays in the criminal Courts. Apparently they will be putting on a number of new acting Judges as well as having more days when the Courts are hearing cases.

The government is also taking steps to try to limit the delays in the civil Courts by trialling a new online system to manage cases rather than needing to go to Court for things like preliminary orders about the case. It will also allow lawyers to file documents outside of the normal opening hours of the Court registry as well as have simple orders also issued on line.