In 2015, the Home Building Act 1989 (the Act) was altered to amend the time to be able to take action in respect of residential building defects to 6 years. This period, however, only applies to defects which are considered “major defects” under the Act.
The Act defines a “major defect” as follows:
“a defect in a major element of a building that is attributable to defective design, defective or faulty workmanship, defective materials, or a failure to comply with the structural performance requirements of the National Construction Code (or any combination of these), and that causes, or is likely to cause:
- the inability to inhabit or use the building (or part of the building) for its intended purpose, or
- the destruction of the building or any part of the building, or
- a threat of collapse of the building or any part of the building, or
- a defect of a kind that is prescribed by the regulations as a major defect, or
- the use of a building product (within the meaning of the Building Products (Safety) Act 2017 ) in contravention of that Act.”
In most cases, building defects, including some of the more expensive issues, will fall outside the scope of a “major defect” as defined by the Act. If this is the case, under the Act you now only have two years in which to claim action for any non-major defects.
It is important to note however, that if the non-major defect is found within the last six months of the two year warranty period, you will be entitled to another six months to claim action. This also applies to any major defect located within the last six months of the 6 year warranty period.
The warranty period on any claim either major or non-major begins from the completion of the work, however the Act states that this does not prevent a claim being started before the works have been completed.
If you require any assistance in relation to any building defects, please contact our office for further information on 9525 8688.