Construction Defects

If you’re a property owner and you notice construction defects in your new building, we can help you make a claim for financial losses and secure a favourable outcome for you. If you’re the contractor on the other side of the defect dispute, we can help protect your rights, negotiate a resolution that works for both parties and defend any claim that is not sustainable.

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Do you need a construction defects lawyer?

Construction defects are one of the most common reasons why construction disputes arise. These defects are generally due to non-compliance with Australian Standards (as contained in the National Construction Code), a failure to undertake the work in a competent manner or the use of substandard materials.  Defective works are identified as either structural or non-structural.

  • cracks and uneven settlement of concrete
  • water intrusion leading to damage or mould
  • electrical or plumbing issues
  • use of substandard materials
The Standards and Tolerances Guide published by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) provides a comprehensive guide for homeowners and principals in determining whether a suspected defect would be considered defective or potentially whether it would be considered a breach of contract.

If you are a property owner and you suspect any of these issues in your construction project, it’s essential to consult with expert construction dispute lawyers like us here in Gibbs Wright Litigation Lawyers. We’ll help you identify responsible parties, and represent you in court to seek damages for repair costs and other financial losses.

If you are the contractor or the subcontractor who has undertaken alleged defective building work, we can also help protect your rights, manage your costs, and guide you through the legal process efficiently to achieve a favourable outcome. No matter which side of the fence you are on.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation and personalized assistance with your case.

How to get started

Litigation can be complex and daunting, but we’ll make the process easier for you. Book a complimentary call today.

1

Tell us your
legal matter

Speak to one of our litigation lawyers via phone for free and provide the necessary details and documents so we can better understand your situation.
2

We’ll let you know
where you stand

If we think that you have a good argument, we’ll devise a strategy for you on how we will take on your matter, and give you legal guidance and a fee estimate. All for free.
3

You Decide

It’s ultimately your decision whether to hire us or not based on the strategy and fee estimate we gave you. There’s no obligation and no pressure to proceed.
1

Tell us your legal matter

Speak to one of our litigation lawyers via phone for free and provide the necessary details and documents so we can better understand your situation.
2

We’ll let you know where you stand

If we think that you have a good argument, we’ll devise a strategy for you on how we will take on your matter, and give you legal guidance and a fee estimate. All for free.
3

You Decide

It’s ultimately your decision whether to hire us or not based on the strategy and fee estimate we gave you. There’s no obligation and no pressure to proceed.

Why Gibbs Wright

Our team of litigation lawyers are committed to protecting your rights and getting the best possible outcome for your situation.

What we do is very simple: we sue people, defend people when they get sued and negotiate resolutions to disputes to prevent proceedings from commencing. It’s the only thing we do and we do it really well.

Having done this for many years, we know the law and the legal processes like the back of our hands. But more importantly, we know how to win. No matter the industry you’re in or how complex your situation is.
When we take on your legal matter, you know that our team of expert litigation lawyers will fight for you not just for the sake of it. We will fight relentlessly so you can get back to business as soon as possible.  

Hear it from our satisfied clients

Expert litigators, ready to fight for you.

Emma Bettridge

Special Counsel

Emma is an experienced commercial litigator committed to giving her clients practical and solutions-oriented advice.

Spencer Wright

Litigation Director

Spencer leads the strategic operations at Gibbs Wright, with a wealth of knowledge on Queensland law and business operations.

Jessica Carroll

Litigation Solicitor

Jessica holds interests in defamation, corporate and contract law, and works closely with all team members of the firm to ensure the client receives the best result.

Melany Dowse

Special Counsel

Melany represents a range of clients from individuals and small businesses to body corporates and insolvency practitioners.

Mitchell Caldwell

Senior Litigation Solicitor

Mitchell has degrees in both law and aviation management and has an extensive background in customer service.

Jannah Riley

Litigation Solicitor

Jannah is the newest member of the team with keen eye for litigation and a passion for client success.

Kathryn

Manager

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a defective building work?

    The policy defines defective building work as work considered faulty or unsatisfactory. It includes, for example, work that:

    • does not comply with the Building Act 1975 (Qld), the Building Code of Australia or Australian Standards; or
    • involves the use, construction or installation of a manufactured product in a way that does not comply with the manufacturer’s instructions.

    This defective work can be structural or non-structural.

  • What’s the difference between structural and non-structural defective building work?

    “Structural defective building work” means work that is faulty or unsatisfactory because it:

    • adversely affects the structural performance of a building; and/or
    • adversely affects the health and safety of occupants of a building; and/or
    • adversely affects the functional use of a building; and/or
    • allows water to penetrate the building.

    On the other hand, “non-structural defective building work” means work that is faulty or unsatisfactory because it:

    • does not meet a reasonable standard of construction or finish expected of a competent holder of a contractor’s licence of the relevant class; or
    • has caused a settling in a period defect in a new building. i.e. building work that does not perform at a standard reasonably expected of work carried out by a competent holder of a contractor’s licence of the relevant class.
  • What is “tier 1 defective work”?

    Under the Queensland Building and Construction Act 1991 (Qld), a “tier 1 defective building work” is a type of construction defect that:

    • falls below the standard reasonably expected of a licensed contractor for the type of building work; and either
    • adversely affects the structural performance of a building to the extent that a person could not reasonably be expected to use the building for which it was, or is being, erected or constructed; or
    • is likely to cause the death of, or grievous bodily harm to, a person.

    For this type of defective building work, the government can cancel a building contractor’s licence, and ban the person from holding a licence for three years, or for life depending on subsequent offences.

  • How are construction defect disputes resolved?

    In construction contracts, there are specific steps to resolve defect disputes. If negotiations with the contractor fail, the owner can file a complaint with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission within 3 months of discovering a structural defect and within 7  months of discovering a non-structural defect. 

    QBCC may involve engineers to assess the complaint and can issue a Direction to Rectify (DTR) to the contractor, requiring them to fix the issue within 35 days for most cases. The DTR must also be issued within six years and three months (structural defect) or 12 months (non-structural defect) of project completion.

    If the contractor doesn’t comply with the DTR, QBCC may initiate legal proceedings in QCAT or Magistrates Court. 

    If QBCC can’t resolve the dispute through Early Dispute Resolution (EDR), they can issue a certificate allowing the owner to seek dispute resolution in QCAT. In some cases, another contractor may rectify the work, but the feasibility of this approach should be carefully assessed, as damages from the original builder may not cover the cost of rectification by the subsequent builder.

  • What is the Queensland Home Warranty Scheme?

    In Queensland, the QBCC Act provides a statutory  home warranty insurance scheme for residential construction projects exceeding $3,300 in value. It provides protection for both the building contractor and the homeowner, particularly when dealing with unresolved defective work issues.

    To utilize this scheme, a homeowner must file a formal complaint with QBCC within three months (for structural defects) or seven months (for non-structural defects) of discovering the issue. If the claim is successful, QBCC pays out the necessary amount and then seeks reimbursement from the building contractor responsible for the defect. This arrangement ensures that homeowners have the means to address defects even if the contractor fails to rectify them.

  • Can I also make a claim for consequential damages?

    A building contractor can also be directed to rectify consequential damage caused by defective building work.

     

    Under the Queensland Building and Construction Act 1991 (Qld), consequential damage is damage caused by building work at a residential property, regardless of any intention, negligence or recklessness of the person carrying out the work. Such damage includes

     

    • the impairment of drainage;
    • the undermining of a fence, retaining wall or other boundary structure;
    • the compromising of the structural integrity of a building, swimming pool, or wall;
    • the cracking, lifting or cratering of a driveway or path;
    • water penetration; and
    • termite infestation.

Explore your legal options with Gibbs Wright Litigation Lawyers - Brisbane’s Leading Litigation Firm.

Our expert litigators will let you know where you stand and give you legal guidance.