Does the carrying out of rectification work reset the 6 year and 6 month time limit for issuing a direction to rectify? This is the question that the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) recently considered.
The answer is No.
The facts of the case are as follows:
- Practical Completion was achieved in 2009;
- The Owners subsequently complained about water leaks;
- The Builder attended the property between 2015 and 2016 to undertake rectification work;
- The Owners complained to the QBCC in 2017 about water penetration; and
- The QBCC declined to issue a direction to rectify because the complaint was lodged outside the 6 year and 6 month time frame (that time frame having expired in January 2016).
The Owners applied to review the decision in QCAT and argued that the rectification work performed between 2015 to 2016 reset the clock so that the 6 year and 6 month time frame recommenced from 2015/2016.
QCAT rejected this argument. It was determined that the time limit does not apply to types or parts of the building work. Rather, the time limit commences from the date of completion of the building work as a whole – in this case, the issue of the certificate of classification on 10 July 2010.
So, the key takeaway for builders is that performing rectification work does not reset the clock. The 6 year and 6 month time limit for the QBCC to issue a direction to rectify starts when the building work as a whole is completed (which will usually start when the certification of classification is issued).
However, owners do have the option to apply to the QBCC to extend the time frame and this time frame does not preclude owners from taking issue with the builder pursuant to other legal avenues such as negligence.
If you are a builder and have received a complaint about potentially defective work that you think may be outside of the QBCC timeframes, make sure you contact the expert team at Axia for advice. Because at Axia Litigation Lawyers – Every Move Matters!