Building defects can be obvious, such as a large crack up the wall. However, large cracks can also be misleading and many of the worst defects are not visible to the naked eye. If you’re thinking about investing in a building, or even if you currently own one, you need to get in contact with a reputable building consultant and get the building checked over.
Being aware of the defects can help you establish a value for the property and budget for repairs.
The most important thing to note, especially when purchasing a new build, is that there are time limits regarding when you can make a claim. That means if you haven’t had an inspection done before you purchased you should get one done as soon as possible. It’s worth checking with your state laws to verify the exact time limits. For new homes, it is usually between 12 and 24 months from the completion date. If you don’t file a defect during this time period then you’ll be unable to claim off the builder.
However, it should be noted that this is different from a warranty. Any warranty provided must be specific regarding what protection it is offering. These elements are covered against defects for the entire period of the warranty. Of course, if you’re claiming under a warranty you’ll still want to have a building inspection. The report will help your claim.
Most buildings have automatic warranties that the building will be fit for its purpose, made with new materials, and has been completed in compliance with the latest laws and regulations. A statutory warranty should be valid for a minimum of 7 years, giving you some peace of mind. However, some newer contracts only require the warranty to be valid for 2 years, make sure you check the details before you buy.
Types of Defects
As mentioned, a crack in the wall can appear to be a major defect but that doesn’t mean it actually is. You’ll need a professional assessment to identify the severity of the defect, you can use the report to help your warranty claim. Major defects usually consist of the inability to use certain parts of the building because of a defective design, poor workmanship, or sub-standard materials. This is also the case if the building is likely to collapse.
Damage to major elements, such as load-bearing components, lack of waterproofing, or bad fire safety equipment should also be covered by the warranty. To properly protect your home you need to have a survey undertaken and any faults reported on. A copy of the report can then be sent to the building to ensure the necessary repairs are undertaken.
There is a 10-year bar on building claims. If no claim has been made within ten years then a new claim cannot be started, even if it relates to problems found within the 10-years. This is to prevent developers from being sued in the future when it will be hard to determine whether it was a design defect, negligence, or simply wear and tear.