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Builders are to provide the following warranties to their clients in relation to the work completed under their residential building contract:
These statutory warranties apply to all building work, regardless of the cost of the works or whether there is a written contract.
The statutory warranties last for 10 years from the date of practical completion.
If the property is sold, the new owners will receive the benefit of the warranties until the end of the 10-year period.
Your client may commence legal action for a breach of a statutory warranty at any time within the 10 years from practical completion.
This does not mean it is a 10-year warranty for your work. You will only be responsible for defects that are caused by poor workmanship or negligence.
Any defects that result from lack of maintenance, wear and tear or damage by the owner are not your responsibility.
What about the manufacturer’s warranty on materials and supplies?
Suppliers or manufacturers may provide a warranty on certain products for a limited amount of time promising that if the product fails, they will provide a repair or replacement.
These warranties are separate to the statutory warranties discussed above. The statutory warranties apply whether a manufacturer or supply warranty exists or not. If a defect arises outside of the manufacturer/supplier warranty period, you may still be required to fix it.
It is always a good idea to choose products that have reasonable warranties as this may assist you where the alleged defect arises during the manufacturer/supplier warranty period.
It is not recommended that the client provide their own products. The client may be looking to cut costs and may provide materials that do not comply with Australian Standards just because it was cheaper.
If the client does specify the product, the builder may still be responsible if the product is defective. Builders should always work with products and supplies they are familiar with.
It is important to remember that even if a client or their representative has specified an item, the builder using or installing the product or supply may still be held liable for incorrect installation or interfering with the item.
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