Headshot of David Southwood - Solicitor at Everingham Solomons TamworthHave you got genuine concerns about residential building work that has been done at your property? If yes, there are important obligations and timing issues that you must be aware of. If you do not comply with these, your ability to commence proceedings and obtain compensation or relief may be seriously compromised.

  1. Obligation to mitigate – If you discover a defect in building work, you can’t sit on your hands and watch things get worse. The law requires you to take steps to reduce the damage that occurs from the defective work. If you fail to do this, you may only receive compensation for some of the damage, as the law considers that you should have taken steps to protect yourself from avoidable damage.


  1. Obligation to notify builder – Related to the obligation to mitigate, you are also required to notify the builder in writing about the defect within 6 months after the defect becomes apparent. You must not unreasonably refuse the builder access to remedy the defect.


  1. Time limits to commence proceedings – If you wish to commence proceedings about defective residential building work, ideally you should do so within 2 years of completion of the building work and no later than 6 years. If you commence proceedings after this time, your claim will only be considered if you can show there is a “major defect” in the building work.


Proving a “major defect” is a big hurdle. In essence, it requires there to be a defect that will cause the building work to be uninhabitable, unusable or cause its destruction. On the other hand, if you commence proceedings within two years, any reasonable claim for defective work can be considered.


If you have genuine concerns about building work, it is important that you engage a solicitor early to ensure that you comply with the above obligations. If you don’t, your ability to claim compensation or obtain a remedy may be seriously compromised. Everingham Solomons Solicitors has experience in building disputes and is happy to assist you, as Helping You is Our Business.

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