Unless you are across the relevant building standards it can be useful to have a 3rd party assess the defect you are raising as they can give clear reasons if something doesnt comply to the relevant standards or if the issue thats raised is an generally acceptable one. They normally inspect your property at different stages (more details are here: Independent Building Inspector)
The owner or agent (builder) can assign a building surveyor, the choice is yours.
More details are here: Construction Phase | Building Surveyor
You are covered to an extent before the build starts and during with the insurance policy that the builder is required to take out for your build.
The Home Building Compensation Fund provides cover in the event that work isn’t started by the builder, leading to a loss of deposit under the building contract. This is claimable by the homeowner for up to 12 months from the failure to commence the work.
Up to 20% of the contract price is claimable if the builder fails to complete the work. It is claimable up to 12 months from cessation of the work.
Its important to familiarise yourself with the NSW Fair Trading acts which protects your rights after for your new build home:
Cover: Warranty (Defects and Liability period)
Considered the defects and liability period, these include things like cracks in the wall, gaps in the floor boards, etc.
Cover: Minor or Non structural defects
Covers most reasonable defects found in the home.
Cover: Major or Structural defects
From the Home Warranty Insurance Fund definition, the definition is below. Its important to seek legal advice on this because whats structural can be ambiguous and I wouldn’t go by what one person says, be that the builder who may say it isnt or a another person in the industry.
I had a water leaks for 6 years and the builder attempted to resolve these for that period however some builders would stop trying to fix it within the 2 year period.
Structural defect means any defect in a structural element of a building that is attributable to defective design, defective or faulty
workmanship or defective materials (or any combination of these) and that:
For the purposes of this definition of structural defect, ‘structural element of a building’ means:
Structural element in relation to a building, means a component or part of an assembly which provides necessary supporting structure to the whole or any part of the building.
For any work over $20k a builder is required to provide a home owners warranty which is an insurance product provided by the likes of iCare. You can calculate the cost of this as an owner however most builders will include this in the base price.
There are limited ways to use this insurance such as:
Its very unlikely that someone will end up claiming on their insurance as all disputes have to go through the builder.
Its important to lodge a complaint if you are close to your 2 and 6 year warranty period. Even if the builder is willing to assist you if they delay things then you lose your protections if you dont lodge a complaint. You get a discretional extra 6 months of warranty when you do this as well. Notify the builder that you are doing this to protect your rights and you are still willing to work with them to resolve the issue.
If your builder is on top of things then lodging a complaint may be discretional on your side.
Once you’ve notified of your possible claim, it is a good idea to take appropriate action to try and have the original builder/contractor complete and/or fix the defects, by:
You can make a claim at any time, but to successfully submit a claim there must have been a trigger event. As soon as you become aware of a trigger event, it’s important to notify the relevant authority and make a claim.