In this Activated we would like to introduce you to our new team member, Paul Hick.
Paul Hick – Construction Law Specialist
Paul has joined us as a Specialist Construction Lawyer and can assist bodies corporate with any building and construction matters, including preparation of building/painting contracts and advising in respect of building defects. Paul has unique experience in the construction industry, including having been a builder for some 20 years before turning his career to law. So, Paul has first hand experience in the construction industry and knows what to look for, to properly protect the bodies corporate’s interests. Paul is also a Senior Adjudicator for Building Construction Industry Payment Act adjudications.
Time Limits on Making Complaints about Defective Building Work
It is all too common. You have engaged a contractor to carry out work and the work has not been completed to the standard it should. You do not have to accept it. In some circumstances the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (“QBCC”) may be able to assist you by issuing the contractor with a direction to rectify. But beware, there are time limits!!!
Types of Defects
The Queensland Building and Construction Board’s rectification of building work policy (“Policy”) defines defective building work as building work that is faulty or unsatisfactory, and includes work that:
a. Doesn’t comply with the Building Code or an applicable Australian Standard; or
b. Involves the use of a manufactured product in a way that does not comply with the product
- “Structural defective building work” (previously referred to as Category 1 defective building work), which includes defects that:
– adversely affect the structural performance of a building;
– adversely affect the health or safety of persons residing in or occupying a building;
– adversely affect the functional use of a building; or– allows water penetration into a building.
- “Non-structural defective building work” (previously referred to as Category 2 defective building work), which includes defects that:
– do not meet a reasonable standard of construction or finish expected of a competent licenced contractor; or– have caused a settling in period defect in a new building.
Timeframes for Lodging the Complaint
Since changes to legislation took effect in October 2014, the timeframes in which complaints must be made vary depending on when you entered the contract with your contractor. If the contract was entered before 10 October 2014, the Old Policy would apply and you must lodge a complaint with the QBCC:
- About Category 1 defective building work:
- Within 3 months of noticing the defect – Under the Old Policy, the QBCC often exercised their discretion to accept complaints even though they had not been lodged strictly within this 3 month time limit, and
- The defect must have become apparent within 6 years and 3 months after practical completion of the work under the contract occurred; and
- About Category 2 defective building work – within 7 months after practical completion of the work under the contract occurred.
- About structural defective building work:
- Within 12 months of noticing the defect – With the extended time frames under the current Policy for contracts entered after 10 October 2014 though, we are of the view the QBCC may be less inclined to accept late complaints. That is, if the complaint is not lodged within 12 months of the defect first becoming apparent, we are of the view QBCC might not accept the complaint; and
- The defect must have become apparent within 6 years and 3 months after the building work was completed; and
- About non-structural defective building work, within 6 or 12 months (depending on the terms of the contract) after the building work was completed.
Accordingly, it is important to take note of the above timeframes and if there is still time to lodge the complaint, the complaint process should be actioned before the relevant time limit expires.We also strongly recommend you do not leave lodging the complaint up to the last moment, because the QBCC needs time to investigate the complaint and issue a defect notice before the expiry of the following periods:
- For structural defective building work – 6 years and 3 months after the building work was completed; and
- For non- structural defective building work – within 6 or 12 months (depending on the terms of the contract) after the building work was completed,
otherwise QBCC might refuse to take action in respect of your complaint.
The Complaint Process
In each case the complaint process that must be followed includes, at the outset, the notification of your complaint to the contractor, listing details of the defective building work and providing the contractor with an opportunity to access the property and rectify the defects. That must be done before the QBCC will accept a complaint under the Policy.
If you a concerned there are defects in your contractor’s work or you otherwise have concerns about your contractor’s compliance with their statutory or contractual obligations and your rights in respect to same, the Construction Law Team at Active Law is here to assist you. Remember, knowledge is power, don’t stumble blindly through any construction process without obtaining strong, no-nonsense advice on your rights and obligations.
Disclaimer: Reliance on content.
The material distributed is general information only. The information supplied is not and is not intended to be, legal or other professional advice, nor should it be relied upon as such. You should seek legal or professional advice in relation to your specific situation.