By Anita Batorowicz

1 December 2020

There are a number of important limitation periods that every Owners Corporation should be aware of when it comes to defective domestic building work within the common property areas of the Property.

Key limitation periods which effect domestic building disputes in Victoria include:

  • Commencing a Domestic Building Dispute in VCAT against a Building Practitioner
  • Commencing a Domestic Building Dispute in VCAT against a Plumber
  • Domestic Building Insurance Claims
  • Domestic Plumbers Insurance

 

Commencing a Domestic Building Dispute in VCAT against a Building Practitioner

Pursuant to section 134 of the Building Act 1993 a building action cannot be brought more than 10 years after the after the date of the relevant Occupancy Permit (regardless of whether the Occupancy Permit was subsequently cancelled or varied) or a Certificate of Final Inspection (if an Occupancy Permit was not issued).

As confirmed in the matter of Owners Corporation 1 Plan No. PS543073S v Eastrise Constructions Proprietary Limited (Building and Property) [2019] VCAT 1639, filing a conciliation application through the mandatory Domestic Building Dispute Victoria Resolution Victoria (DBDRV) conciliation process does not equate to commencing a domestic building dispute.

 

Commencing a Domestic Building Dispute in VCAT against a Plumber

Pursuant to section 134A of the Building Act 1993 a plumbing action cannot be brought after 10 years from that date of the relevant plumbing Compliance Certificate issued for domestic plumbing work at the Property.

 

Domestic Building Insurance (sometimes called “Home Warranty Insurance”)

In the event the Builder obtained a Domestic Building Insurance policy for the Property, insurance claims by building owners can only be made for defects that were notified by the building owner to the domestic building warranty insurer within the following timeframes:-

  • For non-structural defects notification to be made within two (2) years from the completion date of the building works; and
  • For structural defects the insurer is to be notified within six (6) years from the completion date of the building works.

  

Domestic Plumber’s Insurance

A Plumber is required be hold an insurance policy or policies in order to be eligible to be licensed under Part 12A of the Building Act 1993 (does not include licences to carry out private plumbing work only or Type B Gasfitting work only).

As stipulated in the Licensed Plumbers General Insurance Order 2002 (Ministerial Order), in order to make a claim with a plumber’s insurer, the insurer must be notified of the defective plumbing work within six (6) years after the date that the licensed plumber issued a compliance certificate in relation to that domestic plumbing work. If a compliance certificate was not issued for the work, the insurer must be notified within six (6) years from the date that the plumber stopped carrying out that work.

‘Notification’ of defects given to the licensed plumber within the six (6) year period, is deemed to also be notice provided to the plumber’s insurer.

 

This is a brief outline of key limitation periods for defective domestic building works only, if you would like further information regarding the above, please contact a member of our Owners Corporation Team.

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