Approximately one in six Australian residents live in strata-title residential buildings. But, as demands for strata properties increase and exceed the available supply, building defects in new and existing buildings are a prevalent concern in Australia. Defect issues can be inherent to the building’s structure or may occur over time.
Regardless, unaddressed defects can significantly impact your finances and peace of mind. They can also affect your capacity to insure your strata building adequately. Detecting and addressing existing and potential defects before they escalate is critical. Doing so ensures that corrective measures can be taken before the warranty limitation periods expire.
Below, we’ll discuss the different building defects commonly encountered in strata properties and the risks they might cause.
Structural and Design Flaws
Building structure and design are the most apparent features of a building. Any defect can occur in the property’s structure due to natural wear and tear.
However, structural defects can also be present in newly built homes because of design inadequacies and construction defects by the builder. Defects from inferior building materials or non-compliance with regulatory standards can be hard to fix. They may require tearing down the entire building.
Fortunately, reliable management providers like Hunter Strata Management can help you with regular site inspections, repairs and maintenance, and other issues you encounter on your property.
Defective Roof Coverings
Another common building defect encountered in strata properties is defective roof coverings. Roofs are susceptible to all types over time because of their exposure to bad weather and falling trees.
However, faulty design or negligence can also result in defective roof coverings. When left unaddressed, these defects can cause water leaks and structural damage to the property, impacting its value and insurability.
Insulation and Cladding Issues
Many may not consider insulation and cladding essential when inspecting a property during the pre-purchase phase. However, defective cladding can cause fires to spread quickly in a building. Likewise, inadequate insulation can lead to moisture buildup and make the building more prone to molding growth, which can decay the structure quicker and cause sickness.
Plumbing and Drainage Defects
Multiple units in strata properties often share plumbing and drainage systems. Any issue encountered in one building area can constantly affect other parts. Plumbing leaks and overflowing gutters are some of the most common plumbing and drainage defects experienced in old and new strata buildings.
Electrical Problems and Faulty Wiring
Electrical problems and faulty wiring are other prevalent issues in strata properties, especially in older buildings. These defects can happen as a result of insufficient installation or poor electrical design. Regardless of the cause, they can pose a dangerous risk to building safety. Hence, it’s crucial to get them inspected and replaced immediately.
How Can Homeowners Deal With Strata Building Defects?
Experiencing defects in your strata property can be overwhelming. Highlighted below are more practical tips for addressing strata building defects.
Know Your Rights and the Possible Remedies
As a homeowner, you have certain rights within the defects liability period. It’s a specified timeframe during which the construction contractor is legally responsible for rectifying any defects found in the construction work they have completed.
The period usually spans from one to two years after the completion of the construction. Nevertheless, you must know what you’re legally entitled to during this period to ensure you don’t handle the expensive repairs on your own.
Keep a Detailed Record of All Identified Defects
Keeping a detailed record of all defects you identify in your strata building is crucial. Take photographs or videos to emphasize issues in specific areas of the property. When doing so, write down descriptions of the defects and note the dates and times you discovered them. Afterward, submit a written report to the contractor or builder and request rectification.
Collaborate With a Building Defects Inspector
A thorough assessment of your strata property is vital for legal and safety reasons. Hence, consider collaborating with a building defect inspector. They are experts in checking what type of defect exists in your building. They’re also knowledgeable about detecting hidden defects and non-compliance with relevant codes or regulations.
Consult a Professional for Advice and Guidance
It’s crucial to consult a professional for advice and guidance, particularly when confronted with strata building defects and disputes. They can assist you at every phase, from reviewing your contract to initiating discussions or negotiations with the builder. With a legal professional, you can ensure that you take the appropriate steps and that your rights are protected.
Mitigate the Risks of Construction Defects in Your Strata Property
Regular inspections are essential in recognizing and taking on building defects during and after the construction phase. It helps ensure that construction work adheres to the required standards and complies with relevant building codes and regulations.
Likewise, being able to detect issues promptly can help you mitigate the risks and resolve them before they become significant problems and cause additional damage to the property. As a result, you can save time and money in the long run.