Defective Claims for Builders

Your Obligations Around Building Defects

With so many moving parts it is no surprise when an issue or challenge crops up during the construction process.
While some issues may be out of your control, within the insurance period you are obliged to rectify defects in response to any reasonable defective claim. While some claims processes run smoothly, others do not, calling for a lawyer with construction expertise.

A defect in your work?

Every builder dreams of the perfect build, smooth sailing through a project without a hiccup. Unfortunately, with so many moving parts and factors to consider this is not often the reality. While twists, turns and speed humps come along with every building project, some of which are out of your control, in some cases they give rise to building issues that may warrant complaint by your client. In the event that a defective claim is made, are you clear on your rights and how to protect yourself?  Our construction lawyers are experts in directing builders who have undertaken defective works as to how they should be rectified.

What you need to know

To get you started, here are some things you need to know in the event that a building defect claim is made against you:

The QBCC may direct the building contractor or any other person who carried out or was to carry out the relevant works to rectify or complete the building work within the period stated in the direction.

If you receive a direction to rectify, it is imperative that you comply with the direction or apply for a review within 28 days. If you have received a direction to rectify and you were not the person who carried out the building work in question, you can challenge the validity of the direction notice.

Given the limited timeframe imposed by the QBCC in attending to a direction to rectify, it is important that you attend any scheduled site inspections, so that you can discuss the defects identified with the QBCC’s building inspector and/or the homeowner.

Defective building can fall into one of two categories – structural and non-structural.

For Structural Defective Work, an owner can lodge a complaint within 6 and a half years from when the work is completed and within 12 months of noticing the defect.

For Non-structural Defective Work, you may provide a 6 or 12 month statutory warranty from the date of practical completion for non-structural defects.  Typically, this is part of the contract conditions for new home construction. Within the warranty period, the owner can request in writing that you fix the issue. The owner can also lodge a complaint with QBCC, no later than 12 months from noticing the defect.

If you have a complaint lodged against you, it is important to seek independent legal advice at the earliest opportunity to ensure a fair resolution.

When a good match is met between a lawyer and a client you instantly increase your chances of success. Regardless of whether you’re being pursued or are pursuing another, you provide the wealth of information relevant to the circumstance and your lawyer will be the one to make meaning of that information.

Thinking about self-representation? Think again. Statistically speaking, the majority of people who go unrepresented don’t come out on top. The law is a complex arena and when you’re dealing with time consuming, expensive and complex litigation proceedings, you’ll want to be sure you know your rights and obligations.

If you feel a decision made by the QBCC is incorrect, we can help you to navigate your Internal Review options or dispute the claim through the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).

An Internal Review can be applied for if you are unhappy with a decision by the QBCC defined as a ‘reviewable decision’.  Examples can include;

  • a decision to refuse a licence application or renewal
  • a decision to suspend or cancel a licence
  • a decision to issue a direction to rectify defective building work
  • a decision that rectification/completion work is of an unsatisfactory standard
  • a decision about the scope of works for an insurance claim

Applications to review decisions must be filed within 28 calendar days of the Commission making a person aware of the decision.

Talk to our team today

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