Common Questions

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Frequently Asked Question

Defects

What happens when a Building Claim is lodged with the Tribunal?

Some types of building complaints will be referred to the Tribunal. These include any complaints relating to:
  • appeals against a decision of an insurer under a contract of insurance required to be entered into under the Home Building Act 1989
  • debt recovery by a contractor
  • disputes between head contractors and sub contractors for defective work
  • claims arising from work done by an owner builder
  • cross claims referred by the Tribunal
  • claims where the time for lodging a claim is due to expire within 3 months
  • matters involving unlicensed contractors.
For all other residential building complaints, the Tribunal will require the parties to participate in the dispute resolution before accepting a claim. The Tribunal member hearing the claim will be provided with the report of the Building Inspector where a site visit has occurred.

What if the Rectification Order is not complied with?

If the period for rectification of work under a Rectification Order has expired and, the contractor has failed to carry out work as provided in the Order, the home owner can lodge a building claim with the Tribunal which may make a binding determination.
If the contractor fails to comply with an Order of the Tribunal or fails to comply with a Rectification Order, disciplinary action may be taken.

What if the home owner or contractor disagree with a Rectification Order?

The home owner may lodge a building claim with the Tribunal if dissatisfied with the outcome of the dispute resolution process.
If a Rectification Order is issued and the homeowner lodges a building claim before the date of expiry of the Order, the Order automatically terminates.
The contractor may lodge a building claim with the Tribunal if they are seeking payment of unpaid moneys from the homeowner.
A contractor can write a letter to Fair Trading if they believe that the Rectification Order issued by Fair Trading is unfair and/or unreasonable. It will then be up to the home owner to commence proceedings in the Tribunal.

What if agreement is not reached?

Where the Inspector determines that there are defects, incomplete work or damage as a result of the contractor's work, a Rectification Order may be issued.
The Order will describe what items require rectification and a date by which the work is to be completed under the Order.
It will also state any conditions the home owner must comply with, such as permitting access to undertake the work.
A copy of the Order is given to the home owner and the contractor.

What if I don't want the contractor back?

In most instances, a tribunal will attempt to resolve the complaint by having the contractor return, provided they are appropriately licensed to do the work.
Generally, while a contractor is willing and appropriately qualified to carry out the work they should be allowed to make good the defect(s)

What does the Building Inspector do?

For some complaints, Fair Trading NSW may require a Building Inspector to look at the defects or incomplete work. If so, the Building Inspector will arrange for both the home owner and the contractor to meet them on site.
The Building Inspector's role is to help resolve disputes and they will inspect the defects or incomplete work reported in the complaint. The Inspector will then discuss their findings with the home owner and contractor with a view to resolving the issues in dispute.
The Inspectors do not do a general inspection of the building work but visit the site to look at only those items that are the subject of the complaint. Where a home owner needs a technically qualified person to do a general inspection of the building work, they should arrange this through an appropriately qualified private consultant.
If the contractor fails to attend a site inspection the Building Inspector may determine the matter in the contractor’s absence.

Minor defects

Most properties will have minor defects such as blemishes, corrosion, cracking, weathering, general deterioration, and unevenness and physical damage to materials and finishes.
An experienced independent consultant should be able to identify what is a defect and what is not considered a defect. Just because the client believes it is a defect, the consultant should make their own conclusion as to whether a defect exists or not.

Who repairs the defects if any are found?

In the mediation process, if it is agreed to by both parties, the builder/contractor will be afforded the opportunity to re-visit the site to rectify.
In a Court or Tribunal judgement/decision, a monetary sum is normally awarded for the sum to rectify the defective works. Seldom is the builder ordered to rectify in a Court/Tribunal determination.

Does the report include photos of the defects?

Photos are an integral component of the report and identification process. The saying “a picture is worth 1000 words” is certainly the case in building defects reports. Further to this a photograph may also identify to the reader that there is no apparent defect and therefore no cause to rectify.

What does the builders Home Owners Warranty Insurance cover?

Where a builder is unable to honour their commitments under a contract due to insolvency, death or disappearance, home warranty insurance provides a safety net for homeowners.

This insurance also provides for subsequent owners post sale of the property. Similarly, where a builder is unwilling to honour such commitments and/or their licence is suspended for failing to comply with a money order in favour of the homeowner made by a Court or the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal, home warranty insurance provides protection to the homeowner.

The period of cover differs depending on when the policy was commissioned. Please seek legal advice as to which warranty period is applicable to your project.

What is a construction defect?

The legal definition of a construction defect is work that is in breach of the contract by failing to maintain a specified standard or quality, or is a breach of any implied warranty.

A building defect is work undertaken that either has failed or is not in compliance with the Building Code of Australia and the Australian Standards. Further to this defective work can be due to faulty materials and/or workmanship where by the item is not fit for its intended purpose.

Read more about defect types.

 

Dilapidation

Why do I need a Dilapidation Survey?

A Dilapidation Survey can be best defined as a the review of an existing structural condition of surrounding structures and infrastructure before a construction, demolition or development starts. All faults such as cracks, distortion, leakages, cracks and other building imperfections are recorded in written notes and photographs.
There are times when major developments, renovations or extensions are being planned by a property owner adjoining neighbouring properties. This is when it would be wise for the property owner undertaking works to engage a consultant to inspect the adjoining properties.
The Dilapidation Schedule produced is to ensure that the current condition of all surrounding properties is captured as a snap-shot. This will help to deter nearby property owners from later claiming that your construction caused damage to their property or land area.
Most conditions of Council Development Applications will require a Dilapidation Survey be undertaken.
There are times however, when major renovations or extensions are being planned by a property owner when it would be wise to have a Dilapidation Schedule drawn up to ensure that the current condition of all surrounding properties are captured as a snap-shot. This will help to deter nearby property owners from later claiming that your construction caused damage to their property or land area.
ABCC can not only assist with the Dilapidation Survey, but will also provide a budget costing for required works and are happy to be engaged by either party.

What are Dilapidations?

Industry

Choosing the right person to inspect the property

You should always use a suitably qualified person, such as a licensed builder, a structural engineer or an architect to provide a professional building inspection report of the property you are thinking of buying.
These professionals will know what to look for, and will see through any cosmetic improvements covering up faults that might otherwise be missed by an untrained eye.
A professional will ensure that the format and content of the report complies with the Experts Code of Conduct.
Make sure that the person you choose has adequate insurance cover, particularly for professional indemnity.

Inspections done during the cooling-off period

When you buy a property in NSW there is at least a 5 business day cooling–off period after you exchange contracts. During this period, you have the option to get out of the contract as long as you give written notice. The cooling–off period starts as soon as you exchange and ends at 5 pm on the fifth business day.
A cooling–off period does not apply if you buy a property at auction or exchange contracts on the same day as the auction after it is passed in.
If you want to get a building inspection done during the cooling–off period, make sure you give the consultant as much notice as possible. They will have to do the inspection, prepare the report and still give you time to make a decision.
If you decide not to buy the property you will also need time to get a letter to the vendor or their agent, saying that you are withdrawing from the contract.

Pre-purchase Inspections

This type of building inspection is carried out specifically for the information of home buyers. Its main purpose is to give you an expert’s view of the condition of the property you are interested in buying.
It is not intended to be used as a certificate of compliance for any law, warranty or insurance policy against future problems. Nor is it intended to estimate the cost of fixing problems. If you want the consultant to estimate the costs of necessary work you will need a ‘special-purpose’ property report.
It is normally the role of your conveyancer or solicitor to deal with all law–related matters. The building inspection report cannot comment on things like the location of fencing in relation to boundaries, as this needs to be done by a registered surveyor.

Items that are not included

A building inspection report usually will not include:
  • parts of the property that were not or could not be inspected
  • matters outside the consultant’s expertise
  • an estimate of repair costs
  • minor defects
  • termite detection.
A building inspection report should not be seen as an all-encompassing report dealing with every aspect of the property. Rather it should be seen as a reasonable attempt to identify any major problems that are visible at the time of the inspection. The extent of any problem will depend to a large extent upon the age and type of property.
While the report will give you valuable expert advice, it will not cover everything.
The consultant normally would not check things such as:
  • footings
  • concealed damp-proofing
  • electrical wiring and smoke detectors
  • plumbing, drainage and gas fitting
  • air conditioning
  • swimming pools and pool equipment
  • watering systems
  • fireplaces and chimneys
  • alarm and intercom systems
  • carpet and other soft furnishings
  • appliances such as dishwashers, insinkerators, ovens, ducted vacuum systems, hot plates and range hoods
  • every opening window
  • television reception.

How Do ABCC's Fees Compare?

We hope that fees are not your sole consideration. You might save many times the cost of your inspection by avoiding costs of rectifying significant problems revealed by your inspector.
Your inspector's qualifications, including his experience, training, and professional qualifications should be your most important consideration.
Fees for all of our services are very competitive, especially when you consider you're getting the best service available for a modest price.
You can't get better than that and really, would you want anything less?

Do I Get A Guarantee?

Your inspection is a record of observable conditions at a particular point in time and not a guarantee, warranty or insurance policy.

Some defects are latent defects which may not be able to be detected and will manifest itself over time.

Can a Property "FAIL" an Inspection?

No. A professional inspection is an examination of the property's current condition. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, nor a council inspection, which verifies compliance to local government legislation.
Your inspector will not pass or fail a property, but describe its physical condition and indicate what may need repair or replacement.

Do you provide Pest Inspections?

ABCC are qualified to provide termite and timber pest reports for all court jurisdictions, however, we are not providing pre-purchase pest reports at this time.

Once the inspection is carried out when will I get the report?

An expert report can take anywhere between 1 week to 2 months to compile. The time taken to produce a report depends on the following;

  • The information provided to the expert
  • The size of the dwelling
  • The number of home units and common areas to be inspected
  • If costs to rectify are required
  • If a Scott Schedule is required
  • If additional consultants are required
  • The number of and extent of defects
  • If invasive investigations are required

Is the inspector a Registered Builder?

Yes. It's essential not only to be a licensed Builder to give credibility to your report but also important that the builder has a thorough understanding of the whole building process.
Anthony Capaldi has a current Builders License (No. 46719c).

Why do I need an Inspection on a brand new building?

There is a big difference between a pre-occupation defect repair list and a post-occupation warranty request.
Thousands of items in a new home must coordinate together. These items will not be fully tested until you move in. Also there is a big difference in a pre-occupation defect repair list and a post-occupation warranty request. Your builder and construction supervisor will insure all the items on the pre-occupation defect repair list are corrected BEFORE final handover.
This is because they must transfer a completed building in accordance with the contract.
As the home is being used in its entirety, defects are added to a long warranty request list. There must be a distinct delineation between mis-use and normal usage. Warranty repairs are performed by the contractors warranty repair department at a direct cost to the contractor.

What is a Property Inspection?

This is an inspection of the reasonably accessible areas of the whole property, including attached and detached buildings such as: garages, sheds, carports.

Litigation

What happens when a Building Claim is lodged with the Tribunal?

Some types of building complaints will be referred to the Tribunal. These include any complaints relating to:
  • appeals against a decision of an insurer under a contract of insurance required to be entered into under the Home Building Act 1989
  • debt recovery by a contractor
  • disputes between head contractors and sub contractors for defective work
  • claims arising from work done by an owner builder
  • cross claims referred by the Tribunal
  • claims where the time for lodging a claim is due to expire within 3 months
  • matters involving unlicensed contractors.
For all other residential building complaints, the Tribunal will require the parties to participate in the dispute resolution before accepting a claim. The Tribunal member hearing the claim will be provided with the report of the Building Inspector where a site visit has occurred.

Our Company

Can you provide references?

Gladly! Our past clients are our best reference and we'll gladly share them with you. We also provide a list of professional partners including property investment clients that use our services regularly.

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