Directions to rectify defective domestic building work

Under the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (Act) the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) is empowered to issue to a builder a notice to rectify defective domestic building work.  If a notice is issued to a builder to rectify defective domestic building work, that event is listed on the builder’s licence history.  If the builder fails to comply with the notice, the QBCC may take disciplinary action against the builder and the home owner may be able to make a claim upon the QBCC Home Warranty Insurance scheme.

However, there are strict timeframes within which complaints regarding defective domestic building work can be accepted and actioned by the QBCC.  A failure to comply with these timeframes will impact upon the ability of the QBCC to issue a notice to rectify defective domestic building work and ultimately upon the validity of any claim by a home owner upon the QBCC Home Warranty Insurance scheme.

What are the basic timeframes for making a complaint to the QBCC about defective building work?

Under section 71J of the Act, a home owner may ask QBCC to give a direction to rectify domestic building work considered to be defective or incomplete, the request having to be made within twelve (12) months after the home owner becomes aware of the domestic building work considered to be defective.

Under section 72A(4) of the Act, a direction to rectify cannot be given more than six (6) years and six (6) months after the domestic building work to which the direction relates was completed unless the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) is satisfied, on application by the QBCC, there is sufficient reason for extending the time for giving the direction and QCAT extends the time.

What is the significance of the timeframes?

These timeframes are significant as under the QBCC Home Warranty Insurance scheme, claims for non-structural defects will be exempt if the home owner becomes aware, or ought reasonably have become aware of the defect, within six (6) months after the day the work is completed but does not lodged a claim within seven (7) months of the completion date.

Structural defects are covered only for six (6) years and six (6) months from the date of payment of the premium and a claim for such structural defects will be exempt if the claim is not lodged within three (3) months of the defect being noticed.

However, before a claim can be made upon the QBCC Home Warranty Insurance scheme, the QBCC will need to issue to the builder a notice to remedy the identified defects and the builder fails to comply with that notice.

Takeaways

Investing in the construction of a home is a significant financial decision for any Australian.  Embarking on the domestic building work journey with your builder can be like a marriage – the end result could be happy ever after or lawyers at 20 paces.  The Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 has embedded within it checks which seek to balance the interests of home owners and builders.

From the home owner’s perspective, the Latin maxim Vigilantibus non dormientibus aequitas subvenit applies when it comes to concerns about defective building work – the law supports the waking, not the sleeping.  In other words, during and after the life of a domestic building work contract, home owners should be vigilant in surveying the quality of the building work performed and need to act swiftly when concerned about the standard of that work to ensure they protect and preserve their contractual and legislative rights.

Further references

Legislation

Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991

Related articles by Dundas Lawyers

QBCC Home Warranty Insurance Claims – part 1

QBCC Home Warranty Insurance Claims – part 2

QBCC Home Warranty Insurance Claims – part 3

Termination for incomplete construction work

Defects and completion of construction contract stages

Further information

If you need assistance regarding defective building work issues, please telephone me for an obligation free and confidential discussion.

 

Mitch Brown - Dundas LawyersMitch Brown Dip.T.,BA.,LL.B.,MQLS.
Legal Practice Director
Telephone: (07) 5646 9174
Mobile: 0420 205 105
e: mbrown@dundaslawyersgc.com.au

 

 

Disclaimer

This article contains general commentary only. You should not rely on the commentary as legal advice.  Specific legal advice should be obtained to ascertain how the law applies to your particular circumstances. 

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