CCThe Home Building Act 1989 (‘the act’) is a set of laws designed specifically to help residential homeowners who have received sub-standard building work.


The act can help almost any homeowner from almost any form of bad building related work

The act provides protection to homeowners who have constructed a new home, including cases where the home was built with structural defects, with poor quality materials or in a way that departed from the building plans.  However, the act is not limited to new buildings and also applies to renovations and home additions as well as any isolated specialist work, like plumbing, electrical work, tiling and cabinet or kitchen making.  Basically any work related to building or altering a residential dwelling will be covered under the act.

In certain circumstances, the act even helps the purchaser of a used home to rectify poor building work supplied to the home’s previous owner.

The act helps homeowners in two main ways.

Firstly, it ensures that all tradesmen are insured.  This means that if a tradesman is ultimately found to be liable for a building problem, and becomes insolvent or disappears, that there will be an insurer in the background who can pay for the inadequate work to be rectified.

Secondly, the act gives each homeowner a warranty as to the quality of the building work that they receive from the tradesman.  The warranties are very broad but basically mandate that:

  1. the work will be of good tradesman quality;
  2. the work will be done in accordance with the plans;
  3. the materials used will be good, new and suitable;
  4. the work will be done on time; and
  5. the work will be fit for the purpose that it was designed for.

The majority of claims made under the act are heard in the Consumer Trade and Tenancy Tribunal (‘CTTT’).   This is a real benefit for homeowners.  The process is much cheaper and is informal.  Applying to the CTTT is not as slow, expensive or as intimidating as going to court.

Just like with most legislation, time limits and warranty periods apply.  If those periods lapse before the homeowner makes a claim, the homeowner can lose the right to recover their money or have the work rectified.

If you have any questions about the quality of building or construction work, contact Everingham Solomons, because Helping You is Our Business.

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