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Severe Weather Event What are your warranty obligations?

March 04, 2020

When you carry out residential building work you are deemed to make certain promises to the owner in relation to that work.

You warrant that the works are fit for their purpose, that they are done with due care and skill, that the materials used are suitable, and that works are done in accordance with the National Construction Code (NCC) and any applicable standards.

Over the last week many parts of NSW have experienced significant rainfall, winds and flood conditions. These weather conditions have been severe, and have impacted properties with complaints of water ingress and other damage.

When these severe weather events happen most homeowners contact the builder to request an inspection or even rectification to any damaged parts of the home.

Some homeowners may claim that you are in breach of one or more of your warranties. If this claim is within six years for major defects and within two years for other defects from the date of completion then you have certain obligations.

What should you do if a homeowner contacts you?

If you receive a call from a home owner complaining of water ingress or other issues as a result of the recent weather conditions (e.g. issues with gutters, plumbing problems, etc.), the following approach should be taken:

1. Arrange an inspection to see first-hand what is being complained of.

2. Assess whether it relates to your works and/or materials.
If you believe the water penetration into the home (or other complained of issue), is a result of defective work, then you will need to attend to the issue.
If you do not believe any damage is a result of defective work, you should state in writing that there is no defective work and offer a suggestion as to what you believe did cause the problem, for example, lack of maintenance (e.g. issues with gutters overflowing and debris causing the problem).

3. If you don’t believe there is a defect with your works, you might suggest that the owner makes contact with their own home insurer.

For more information about your obligations contact a HIA Workplace Advisor on 1300 650 620. Further information about water ingress and extreme weather conditions can also be found here.