Structural Defects can occur as a result of faulty building practices or from lack of maintenance.
If your property is new, you should consider getting a building report done by a suitable inspection company e.g. Archicentre. There are time limits for which the builder must be notified of a defect and these vary from state to state as follows:
ACTFive years from certificate of occupancy date
NSWFor structural defects six years from the time the defects are noticed by the owners. For non-structural defects the time limit is two years.
NTThere is no statutory obligation; however, the builders give varying periods of warranty from 13 weeks up to 2 years
QldTime limits for making a claim are six years and three months for category 1 defects and six months for category 2 defects*
SAFive years from the completion date
TasSix years from the completion date
VICFor residential buildings up to 2 storeys structural defects are six years and non-structural defects are two years, however, time limits in Victoria start from the date the contract is completed or terminated.
WASix years from the completion date
Regular Maintenance is a MustIf your property is past the allowable defect period, you will need to obtain a building report, to assist in finding the cause of the structural failure. Most structural failures are caused by lack of maintenance, for example:
- Cracked brickwork – rusted steel lintels – no regular painting schedule
- Footings collapsing – broken stormwater, sewer or tree roots undermining the footings – no periodic CCTV of pipes.
- Damaged ceilings, cornices etc – Roof not re-pointed, cracked tiles – roof refurbishment not done every 15 years.
In order to take the matter further, you must:
- Obtain a report.
- Determine what your responsibility is and what the owners corporation responsibility is.
- Make your builder aware of the builder’s defects.
- Make your owners corporation aware of the common property defects