Defect Definitions

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This guide will consider the legal and practical issues arising out of defective work.

Defective Works

The Australian Glossary of Building Terms defines a defect as “fault or deviation from the intended condition of a material, assembly or component.

The legal definition 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. There are 2 questions for consideration;

Has there been a loss suffered to the client?

A loss can be either monetary, aesthetic or performance based. If the answer is YES, then more than likely, a defect exists.

What has the builder/contractor done wrong?

If this question can be answered then, more than likely a defect exists.

LATENT DEFECTS

A latent defect is one which could not be discovered using ordinary and reasonable care in inspection. It is a hidden or dormant defect in a product, premises, or title to real property that cannot be discovered by observation or a reasonably careful inspection.

INCOMPLETE WORKS

Building works that have not been completed as per the contract. Works that is not defective as a loss cannot be established due to faulty and/or inadequate building techniques. Incomplete works usually give rise when a building contract has been terminated by either party.

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