From 15 January 2015 the definition of defects under the NSW Home Building Act has changed. The term “structural defect” has been replaced by the new term “major defect in residential building work.” This means that you are now accountable for any issues with any building works which you have carried out that fall within the following table.

Type of Defect

Required Elements

Time Periods

Major Defect Needs to be major defect to a major element The defect needs to arise within 6 years of completion of the building works
Other Defective work Any defect that is not a major defect to a major element The defect needs to arise within 2 years of completion of the building works

 

What is a “major defect”?

A “major defect” is defined as follows:

(a) a defect in a major element of a building that is attributable to defective design, defective or faulty workmanship, defective materials, or a failure to comply with the structural performance requirements of the National Construction Code (or any combination of these), and that causes, or is likely to cause:

(i) the inability to inhabit or use the building (or part of the building) for its intended purpose, or

(ii) the destruction of the building or any part of the building, or

(iii) a threat of collapse of the building or any part of the building, or

(b) a defect of a kind that is prescribed by the regulations as a major defect.

What is a “major element”?

A “major element of the building is defined as:

(a) an internal or external load-bearing component of a building that is essential to the stability of the building, or any part of it (including but not limited to foundations and footings, floors, walls, roofs, columns and beams), or

(b)  a fire safety system, or

(c)  waterproofing, or

(d) any other element that is prescribed by the regulations as a major element of a building.

What Warranties Apply to Past Work?

If your works commenced prior to 1 February 2012 then a 7 year warranty is applicable on all defects. Works that commenced from 1 February 2012 a 6 year warranty on all major defects and 2 years on all other defective work.

If you have any further queries in relation to the changes to the Home Building Act or any other legal questions, please contact us on 02 9223 9166 or fill out an online enquiry.