Building Defects Victoria

Determining the accountability for building defects in Victoria

Constructing a building is a complex affair. There are many different tradespeople and professionals involved in the construction process, and some of these might even have overlapping tasks. As a result, it becomes challenging to find out which of these can be held responsible in the event of any defect.

Every state has different regulatory laws that seek to protect residents from any such events, and regulatory laws to address building defects in Victoria differ from those in NSW or QLD. We have put together this page to make it easier for you to understand who can be held accountable in such cases.

But first, let us understand what can be construed as a defect.

The term ‘building defects’ is often open to multiple interpretations, and it would be good to have a clear understanding of what they really are, right at the onset. As per the Australian Glossary of Building Terms, a building defect can be defined as any fault or deviation from the intended condition of the material, the assembly or components in the structure. This can span everything from minor defects like cosmetic imperfections, to major defects like damaged roofing, electrical or plumbing faults, material faults like timber rots to structural faults like cracks.

This could either be due to an oversight on behalf of the contractor / sub contractor, developer, architect, engineer or surveyor involved. There could also be multiple different people accountable for the defect.

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    What can you do about it?

    As owners, you will have a “Building Defect Liability Period” which allows you to bring the defects to the builder’s attention within a pre-defined period of 3, 6 or 12 months. The builder would be liable to rectify these faults if highlighted within the designated time frames. In case the builder refuses, you could make an application to the Domestic Building Disputes Resolution Victoria (DBDRV) authority established by the government of Victoria. If this doesn’t work, you could further escalate the issue to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

    In the case of residential structures up to three stories, the builder would need to have procured a Domestic Building Insurance, protecting the owners from building defects in Victoria, in case the builder has passed away, or has disappeared or declared insolvency. If defective work is brought to light and the builder is not available, one could make a claim with the insurance company during the policy period.

    In either case, the building owners can notify the builder of any major defect for up to 7 years, as per the provisions of the Home Building Warranty, and for up to 10 years as per the provisions of the Victorian Consumer Affairs Law.

    At Iconic Strata, our body corporate managers are well experienced with all the regulations governing building defects in Victoria, and how we can get the best for our clients. Apart from managing insurance renewals, we also proactively lodge claims when needed.

    If you’d like to know more about strata management when it comes to building defects, we invite you to reach out to us.

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    We would be delighted to discuss with you how Iconic Strata Management can make a difference for your Owners Corporation.

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