The period leading up to the completion of the building works can be the most stressful - the final payment to the builder will soon be due, you will be arranging to move in, and will be reviewing the quality of work and any minor defects.
A key point in the building process is referred to as Practical Completion. The Master Builders ACT Home Building Contract defines "Practical Completion" as when the final stage works are complete, except for minor omissions and/or minor defects which do not prevent the works from being reasonably fit for use or occupation.
The builder will provide you with a notice stating that Practical Completion has been reached. If you occupy or use any part of the building before you receive this notice, Practical Completion is deemed to have been reached from that time.
A few other important things happen at Practical completion:
- The final payment to the builder will be due, and when made, you will be presented with your keys,
- You and your builder should agree a list of minor defects and omissions that your builder must attend to as outlined in the Master Builders ACT Home Building Contract,
You will be responsible for the completed work and you should ensure that your home and contents policy is in effect, and
- The Maintenance liability period and statutory warranties period commences.
Maintenance liability period
Under the Master Builders ACT Home Building Contract, the Maintenance Liability Period is an opportunity for the home owner to list any minor defects and/or minor omissions in the building. The Maintenance Liability Period starts after the date of Practical Completion and last for 90 calendar days (unless a different time period is prescribed in your building contract).
Statutory warranties apply by law whether or not they are detailed in the building contract between you and your builder. They require construction to be carried out:
- in compliance with the Building Act 2004 (ACT),
- in a proper manner and in accordance with the approved plans,
- using good and suitable materials,
- with reasonable diligence where no completion date is specified, and
- to ensure it will reasonably meet the requirements expressly made known by the owner.
Your building certifier oversees this during notifications and staged inspections.
In the ACT, statutory warranties expire:
- for structural work, at the end of six years after the date of the completion of the work or no later than when the Certificate of Occupancy was issued, and
- for non-structural work, at the end of two years after the date of the completion of the work or no later than when the Certificate of Occupancy was issued.