When Do Builders Lose the Right to Fix Construction Defects?


Imagine a scenario where construction has just been completed on a renovation or your new home/building and there are reports of several defects. You’re rightly upset at the situation and you/owners corporation move to ban the original contractor from gaining access to the property to rectify the defects. However, this course of action may not always be legal!

Today’s blog examines what actions are reasonable and unreasonable in relation to defects.

In some circumstances it is not unreasonable for an owner or owners corporation to prevent a builder from coming back onto the premises to complete rectification of defects. However, owners should not reject offers by a builder to rectify defects without proper consideration of the relevant circumstances.

To that end, owners/owners corporations should seek advice before making a decision to reject a builder’s offer to come back to rectify defects because adopting this approach is not without risk if the matter proceeds to a court or tribunal.

The risk is that rejecting a builder’s offer to repair defective and/or incomplete works may backfire on the owner and prevent the owner from recovering costs (and possibly damages) if the rejection of the builder’s offer is shown to have been unreasonable.

Where defects are found, building owners do have an obligation to allow the original building contractor an opportunity to fix these defects. This opportunity will allow the builder to minimise the damages and costs it will have to pay.

However, the contractors can lose this right if the owner can show that they acted reasonably in their conduct and that they have lost confidence in the builder’s willingness and ability to do the work.