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Queensland Gains New Residential Building Contract Standard

Gold Coast property owners who want to build homes may benefit from new Residential Building Contract rules that became standard on July 15, 2015. The novel contract format changes various particulars associated with the building process, including warranty terms, withdrawals, defect notices, contract-price levels and deposits. Here are the main points of these rules:

Contract Levels

Owners who want to undertake build jobs costing more than $3300 may take advantage of two different contract levels. Contracts priced lower than $20,000 are designated as Level 1, while those exceeding this sum are now known as Level 2. Level 2 contracts demand more stringent homeowner protections, like advanced notice of price changes and detailed property documentation requirements.

Purchase Protection

Warranties remain in effect, but some time definitions have changed. For instance, the six-year, six-month structural-defect Cat. 1 limitation has been shortened to six years from the date of build completion. Non-structural deficiencies, which were formerly covered under Cat. 2, now have 12-month warranties.

Lodging Notices and Withdrawing

New home owners can lodge notices of defect with the QBCC. The new contract standard grants them a six-month period in which to do so, but it also requires them to provide the builder with written notice of such action.

Those who wish to withdraw from their building agreements may do so if they’re not provided with copies of their finalised contracts within five days after signing. If they entered Level 2 contracts, they can also withdraw if their builder failed to supply a Consumer Building Guide, and this right lasts beyond the five-day period.

Project Changes and Timetables

Changes to build details, including material factors or scheduling, must not be put into practice before the builder secures written approval from the home owner. Contractors performing Level 1 work have to supply commencement notices no later than 10 days after beginning work, and Level 2 contracts have to include proposed start dates in their terms.

Deposits and Payment

Although there are no predetermined payment stages, consumers are protected by maximum deposit limits of 10 percent for Level 1 projects and 5 percent for Level 2 projects. When more than half of the work is to be performed off-site, the deposit limit is capped at 20 percent.

Once a job is finished, owners don’t have to submit final payment until they’re assured that the work was completed as per the contract terms and without deficiencies. Independent defect inspections may be important to determine whether a builder actually satisfied their obligations.