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Protection for Home Owners for Domestic Building Works

Litigation: 23 March 2019

With many of us undertaking renovation works on our properties, or even purchasing a home where such work has already been done, it is important for home owners to be aware that they do have some protection for domestic building works undertaken on their homes, whether or not they engaged the builder or contractor themselves and regardless of how the builder or contractor was engaged, which, as we know, can often be somewhat informal and not generally governed by a formal contract.

Section 8 of the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 (Vic) implies certain warranties into all domestic building contracts, namely:

  1. the work will be carried out in a proper and workmanlike manner in accordance with the plans and specifications;
  2. all materials to be supplied for use in the work will be good and suitable for the purpose for which they are used and, unless otherwise stated, those materials will be new;
  3. the work will be carried out in accordance with, and in compliance with, all applicable laws and legal requirements;
  4. the work will be carried out with reasonable care and skill and will be completed by the specified date, or within the specified period;
  5. if the work requires bringing a home to a stage suitable for occupation, the home will be suitable for occupation;
  6. the work, and any material used in carrying out the work, will be reasonably fit for the purpose for which the work was required or the desired result it was to achieve or will be of such a nature and quality that they might reasonable be expected to achieve that result.

Under section 9 of the Act, these implied warranties can be enforced by a lawyer of the subsequent owner of the property, even though that owner did not retain the builder or have the building works undertaken.

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