Structural Defects

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:


ACT

Five years from certificate of occupancy date

NSW

For structural defects six years from the time the defects are noticed by the owners. For non-structural defects the time limit is two years.

NT

There is no statutory obligation; however, the builders give varying periods of warranty from 13 weeks up to 2 years

Qld

Time limits for making a claim are six years and three months for category 1 defects and six months for category 2 defects*

SA

Five years from the completion date

Tas

Six years from the completion date

VIC

For 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.

WA

Six years from the completion date

Regular Maintenance is a Must

If 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:


  1. Obtain a report.
  2. Determine what your responsibility is and what the owners corporation responsibility is.
  3. Make your builder aware of the builder’s defects.
  4. Make your owners corporation aware of the common property defects