Defects Liability Period Clause

The defects liability period starts right after the completion of works. During these times, a building expert inspects and assesses the quality of the work in this period by checking if there are defects needed to be rectified or further improvements to be made. This period usually starts upon reaching practical completion, which is usually three to twelve months, but still depends on what is stated in the contract. Building completion can come in two stages:

Practical Completion icon | Construction Lawyer Melbourne

Practical Completion

Practical, or sometimes called as substantial, completion means that the contract works are complete and is ready for a final building defects inspection. This stage is the start of the defects liability period.

Final Completion icon | Construction Lawyer Melbourne

Final Completion

Final completion is the stage where the contractor or builder has completed all their contract obligations with no further issues and is able to claim their remaining payment.

How does Defects Liability Period work?

In this period, a registered building inspector assesses and inspects finished residential building work. This process depends on the kind of building project that was done. For a residential building, the set defects liability period can be shorter as opposed to larger commercial buildings.

Building Inspection icon | Construction Lawyer Melbourne

Building Inspection

Usually, the building inspector checks the home or building if there are any defects or incomplete works. He compiles all these findings in a building report, where he documents his assessment and recommendations for the building.

Building Defects Report icon | Construction Lawyer Melbourne

Building Defects Report

The building report is a detailed written documentation of the results of the building inspection. This report serves as the basis whether the contractor or the builder has carried out the work according to the plan and the contract. If there are no defects or incomplete works identified in the report, then the project is ready for final completion and handover.

What are the common building defects?

Concrete Spalling | Construction Lawyer Melbourne
Concrete Spalling
External Wall Defects | Construction Lawyer Melbourne
External Wall Defects
Plumbing Leaks | Construction Lawyer Melbourne
Plumbing Leaks
Structural Defects | Construction Lawyer Melbourne
Structural Defects
Non-Structural Defects| Construction Lawyer Melbourne
Non-Structural Defects

Importance of the Defects Liability Period

Building Plan icon | Construction Lawyer Melbourne

1. It ensures that the building will serve its purpose as planned.

The defects liability period is the time to fix and polish anything that needs to be fixed, which was not found initially until the building inspection happens. One aspect that the inspector considers during the inspection is whether the place  is safe for occupation.

Remedy on Defects icon | Construction Lawyer Melbourne

2. This period obligates the contractor or builder to remedy any defects and complete any incomplete works.

Building defects are considered as a breach of contract. So if defects are found at the property, the contractor or builder has to fix these defects within the agreed defects liability period. If you are not sure whether your contractor has committed a contract breach, it is best to consult with a building lawyer to confirm.

Builders and Contractors job icon | Construction Lawyer Melbourne

3. This period can determine whether the builders and contractors had done their job well.

During this period, before you can say that building work is completely done, a building inspector should judge how skillful the builders are in carrying out the work. The higher the quality of the building, the higher the skill level of its builder.

Get legal help during the Defects Liability Period

Construction Law Advice

If building defects are found and you want to make the builder liable for it, seek the advice of a construction lawyer. It is better that you take the proper steps with a specialist lawyer to make sure that you don’t get yourself into more trouble.

Having a building report with instructions from a construction lawyer can be used as evidence in case a potential legal dispute arises. It can also serve as a basis for requiring the contractor or builder remedy and/or complete the works, or support a notice of breach served on the contractor or builder. 

Who can you help during the Defects Liability Period?

Construction Lawyer Melbourne is the Victorian office of Sydney-based law firm Contracts Specialist, which specialises in building and construction law. We can give expert advice on all stages of building, so you can be confident that you’re getting expert advice with our vast knowledge and experience.

Our principal lawyer, John Dela Cruz, deals with Building Disputes, Construction Contracts, and Security of Payments in both Sydney and Melbourne for over ten years. With our extensive experience, you can make sure that you are well-guided in any legal situation. 

To get specialist advice with your building defects, call our construction lawyer in Melbourne today.