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Defective building complaints and what to do if you’re a Queensland homeowner

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

Whether you’re building a new home or renovating an existing one, it helps to understand your rights and responsibilities as a homeowner. This includes defective building work. So, if your property has defective work, what should you do?

Defective work vs contract disputes

Firstly, ascertain if your complaint is in fact categorised as defective work.

For example, a leaking roof is defective work compared with tiles that are the wrong colour which is a contract dispute. A sticking door is an example of defective work versus the wrong door being installed which is a contract dispute.

For more information about what constitutes defective work, the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) have some free resources. What is defective building work and the Standards and Tolerances Guide.

Speak with your builder or contractor

Whether you are unhappy about defective work or you have another problem about building work on your property, speak with the person you hired to undertake the work.

While talking in person or over the phone is a good, first step, make sure you also put everything in writing. When corresponding with your builder or contractor, keep your letter or email easy to understand and short. Stick with the facts rather than making it emotional and explain what you would like them to do – how you want the problem fixed. Finally, don’t forget to keep a dated and signed copy.

Give your builder or contractor two weeks to resolve the problem.

Lodge a complaint with the QBCC

If after speaking with your builder or contractor, you are unable to resolve the complaint, you may be able to lodge a complaint with the QBCC. Conditions apply, including but not limited to:

  • The contract needs to be for building work.

  • The contract value needs to be more than $3,300.

  • Statutory timeframes apply if the contract is finished.

  • For contracts that are still active, the QBCC has an Early Dispute Resolution service that may be able to assist.

Before you lodge a complaint, make sure you do your homework regarding the complaint process with QBCC. This includes checking the likelihood they will be able to assist with your complaint, preparing the required paperwork and having accurate details handy such as dates and values. For more information about lodging a complaint about defective work, visit the QBCC website.

Assistance under the Queensland Home Warranty Scheme

In the event your complaint cannot be resolved through QBCC’s dispute resolution process, you may be eligible for assistance under the Queensland Home Warranty Scheme. This will be assessed by QBCC and no additional paperwork is required. Note that some claims are subject to strict time limits.

Lodge a complaint with the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT)

If QBCC is unable to resolve your complaint, they will issue you with a letter so you can apply to QCAT if you wish to take the matter further.

We understand that navigating the building dispute process in Queensland can be overwhelming and confusing. If you need legal advice, our team is here to help. They have an experienced background in building and construction law and can explain your complaint and the dispute process is easy-to-understand terms. Whether you need a little help or a lot, get in touch on (07) 4632 0480 or through our online contact form

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