Written by: Rachel Gallacher, Litigation Solicitor
If you have discovered defective work at your recent build, you may be eligible to lodge a QBCC complaint for coverage under the QBCC Home Warranty Insurance Scheme.
Embarking on a journey to claim home warranty insurance for defective work demands precision and adherence. To ensure a successful claim assessment, claimants must navigate through a well-defined process:
1. Contractor Notice:
Before diving into the claim process, it’s crucial to initiate the following steps:
- Defect Notification: Swiftly inform the responsible contractor about the identified defects. Allow them a reasonable time frame to rectify the issues. Need a second opinion? Hire an independent building inspector to assess your home.
2. Lodge a Defective Work Complaint:
Engage in the structured dispute resolution process by:
- Filing a Complaint: Submit a defective work complaint, initiating the claim process.
The Clock Is Ticking: Timely Action is Key
- Structural Defect Claims:
For successful coverage against structural defects, keep these timeframes in mind:
Coverage Duration: The insurance is valid for 6 years and 6 months from the earliest among the contract date, premium payment date, or work commencement date.
Claim Submission: Lodge the claim with the QBCC within 3 months of spotting the defect.
- Non-Structural Defect Claims:
When dealing with non-structural defects, adhere to these timelines:
Coverage Duration: Coverage extends for 6 months from the date the work was completed.
Claim Lodgment: Lodge the complaint with the QBCC within 7 months of spotting the defect.
The home warranty insurance encompasses the rectification of defects in various building aspects, including:
- Building elements requiring approval (e.g., attached structures, plumbing fixtures)
- Unattached structures reliant on support (e.g., awnings, handrails)
- Utility-related attachments (e.g., water supply, drainage systems)
- Additional structures (e.g., verandahs, decks, stairs)
- Supportive work (e.g., stump replacement)
- Structural pool defects
Exclusions and Limitation
Certain elements fall outside the insurance’s purview:
- Exclusions: Fire alarm systems, furnishings, floor coverings, electrical appliances, certain structures, and more.
- Accommodation Expenses: Claimable if home becomes uninhabitable due to defects during rectification.
- Loss in Value: Reimbursement for discrepancies between actual work and plans/specifications.
- Contractor Cooperation: Claims can be declined if contractor’s rectification efforts are unreasonably refused.
- Pools: Non-structural defects, areas beyond the pool coping, associated work (e.g., paving)
- Sheds: Separate slab contract exempts shed damage coverage caused by slab.
- Indirect Damage: No coverage for damage unrelated to the defective work.
How to identify defective work?
What Does “Defective Work” refer to?
Defective work refers to substandard or unsatisfactory construction efforts, manifesting either during or after the culmination of a construction project. This encompasses instances where the work in question:
- Fails to adhere to the regulations set forth by the Building Act 1975, the Building Code of Australia, or pertinent Australian Standards.
- Involves the utilisation of a manufactured product, which, due to deviations from the product manufacturer’s instructions, has been employed, erected, or established in a manner not compliant with these instructions.
Varieties of Defective Work
The QBCC’s ability to assist you depends on whether the defect is related to the structure or not. Generally, defects fall into two primary categories:
- Structural Defects
Structural defective building work pertains to defective construction endeavours (excluding residential construction work causing subsidence), due to one or more of the following factors:
- Detrimentally impacts the structural efficacy of a building.
- Jeopardises the health or safety of inhabitants or occupants.
- Compromises the functional utility of the building.
- Permits the ingress of water into the structure.
- Non-Structural Defects
Non-structural defective building work concerns construction activities (aside from structurally flawed work or residential construction work causing subsidence) that are deemed subpar or unsatisfactory due to the following reasons:
- Fails to meet the reasonable construction or finishing standards anticipated from a competent contractor of the relevant category.
- Results in a defect during the initial settling-in period of a newly constructed building.
Defective work versus contractual matters
It’s crucial to differentiate between defective work and contractual matters. While QBCC can address complaints regarding defective work, its authority is limited when it comes to contractual disagreements.
Visit the QBCC website to learn more about the claims process and what building work is covered by a claim. Alternatively, our team of professional litigators are here to explain the process, assess your eligibility and represent you through any dispute that may arise, call our office on 07 5444 1022.
The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the advice of a professional. This information does not consider your personal circumstances and may not reflect the most current legal developments. Should you need advice, please contact our firm for targeted information relating to personal your situation.