Strata building defect claims
It is important that you get advice from a building law expert when making or facing a Strata Building Defect Claim.
Strata lots are now notorious for having problems with defective building works. This can be incredibly costly and expensive for strata owners, particularly in circumstances where strata schemes of any significant size (4 or more stories) will not have the benefit of home warranty insurance.
So many homeowners in strata lots have been left out-of-pocket on account of defective building works that a number of laws have been amended or enacted to regulate the industry, and make it easier to sue a wide range of parties including both the builder and the developer. Two of the most important acts in this space are:
The Home Building Act regulates every residential development in New South Wales. Most relevantly to a strata scheme, the act ensures that both the builder and the developer of the strata lot are liable for up to 6 years for any major defects in the building work.
A payment claim cannot be made under the SOPA unless there is an available reference date, being a date fixed by the contract, or the legislation, as a date for making payment claims. Unless the contract otherwise provides, only one claim can be made in any named month.
Once a payment claim has been submitted, the principal (or head contractor) has 10 business days to respond, unless the contract prescribes a shorter period. This response must be in writing and is called a ‘payment schedule’.
If the principal or head contractor fails to provide a payment schedule, within the required timeframe, it will be liable for the entire amount of the claim. The contractor can t hen recover this amount as a debt in court.
If the principal issues a payment schedule within time, but the contractor disagrees with the assessment, the claimant can make an ‘adjudication application’.
The Design and Building Practitioners Act is a more recent development which creates a statutory duty of care owed by anyone involved in the building of a dwelling can be held liable for economic loss suffered by the owners on account of that person’s negligence. It represents a very substantial expansion of risk for individuals and businesses involved in the performance of building work, and is a game-changer in terms of offering strata plans (and other home owners) some capacity to recover for economic loss even if the builder or the developer has wound up in insolvency.
There are other acts that regulate strata building and management as well.
Claims of the sort described above are fundamentally about building defects, damages and liability. These are questions that you want a building law expert to answer.
If you are a strata manager or a homeowner in a strata lot and you are looking to bring a claim for defective building work in your lot, or if you are a builder, developer or building practitioner facing a claim by a strata scheme, it is important that you get advice from a building law expert. The lawyers at CCS Legal are exclusively experts in building law. We have won major claims for strata lots as well as defended builders, developers and other building professionals against such claims. We will be able to advise and represent you to get the best outcome.