What is defective building work?

Under the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (Qld) (Act) the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) is empowered to issue to a builder a notice to rectify defective domestic building work.

Earlier articles by Dundas Lawyers Gold Coast have discussed timeframes about when complaints about alleged defective domestic building work need to be lodged with QBCC and the unfortunate consequences which can flow by failing to adhere to those time frames.

Under section 72 of the Act, if QBCC is of the opinion that building work is defective or incomplete, it may direct the person who carried out the work to rectify it as per the terms of the QBCC’s Rectification of Defective Building Work Policy (Policy).

However, not all defective domestic building work is equal!

Types of defective building work

Under section 67AB of the Act ‘tier 1 defective work’ is described as grossly defective building work that, among other things, adversely affects the structural performance of a building to the extent that a person could not reasonably be expected to use the building for the purposes for which it was or is being built.

Under the Policy, defective building work is described as being either ‘structural’ or ‘non-structural’.

Structural defective building work is defined as being defective building work (other than residential construction work causing subsidence) that is faulty or unsatisfactory because it does one or more of the following:

  • adversely affects the structural performance of a building;
  • adversely affects the health or safety of persons residing in or occupying a building;
  • adversely affects the functional use of a building;
  • allows water penetration into a building.

Non-structural defective building work is defective building work (other than structural defective building work or residential construction work causing subsidence) that is faulty or unsatisfactory because it:

  • does not meet a reasonable standard of construction or finish expected of a competent contractor; or
  • has caused a settling in period defect in a new building.

Under the Policy, if a domestic building work consumer seeks the assistance of QBCC to have issued a direction to rectify defective building work, a formal complaint must be lodged as soon as possible but no later than within 12 months of becoming aware of the defects.

QBCC will then consider issuing a direction to rectify for:

  • structural defective building work, within 6 years and 3 months of the building work being completed; or
  • for non-structural defective building work, within 12 months of the building work being completed.

Investigation of complaints about structural defective building work often involves the engagement of engineers and other similar building professionals.

Complaints regarding non-structural defective building work can, from a domestic building work consumer’s point of view, be more controversial in regard to what is or is not a reasonable standard of construction or finish.

What is a reasonable standard for someone in Amby who has paid $15,000.00 to have their bathroom tiled may be different to someone from Rodeo Drive!

QBCC when assessing complaints about alleged non-structural defective building work has regard to the Standards and Tolerances Guide.

Often, aggrieved domestic building work consumers will engage an independent expert to independently report on whether the complained of non-structural building work is within the standards and tolerances guide in support of a complaint to QBCC about such work.

Takeaways

Entering into a domestic building contract will be one of the most significant commercial transactions many people entering into.  Obtaining independent legal advice about a consumer’s rights in regard to defective domestic building work is a comparatively small but prudent investment as such disputes have the potential to quickly spiral out of control in terms of stress and costs.

Further references

Legislation

Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act (Qld) 1991

Policies

Rectification of Defective Building Work Policy

Standards and Tolerances Guide

Related articles by Dundas Lawyers

When to complain about defective domestic building work

Directions to rectify defective domestic building work – part 1

Directions to rectify defective domestic building work – part 2

Directions to rectify defective domestic building work – part 3

Further information

If you need assistance regarding alleged defective domestic building work, 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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