How To Optimize your 12 -month Defect Liability Period As A Client

Recently, there’s been a lot of discussion in the news about defects, however as I’m not in the large-scale construction industry I can comment too much but it did get me thinking about the practices I’ve come across with tin the Interior fit-out space over the past 25 years and always wondered how some companies got away with things.

During this time, there’s been a lot of finger-pointing towards the private certifier, trades, even the clients. Comments dropped such as they didn’t pay enough so they got a lessor product, or didn’t want to pay what it’s worth so it is the clients fault. I even recently I saw one firm talk to clients on their website about defects and how to identify them and make it a client issue. it doesn’t make sense to have a client tell the builder what the defects are, unless they’re trying to hide things to try and get past there Defect liability period of 12 months.

Oh, that’s right! All commercial construction works hold a 12-month defect liability period. Meaning if a product that was installed fails in under 12 months the builder is to replace it free of charge.

Who’s to blame?

But let’s really be honest, who is to blame?

Answer: It’s the builder/ head contracting firm 100%.


They hire the sub-contractors, they undertake inspections, they know the scope of all trades, they know what needs to be built and how it needs to be built!

As educated professionals, we are taught what to identify and what to look for when working with tradespeople and if we don’t think that it satisfies to the standards, or quality, or workmanship, we shouldn’t allow for it to be installed. Hell, if it’s not good enough for me it’s not good enough for anyone!

So how do a clients protect themselves from builders trying to hide defects on their projects?

  1. Ask for dates when inspections of services, framing, fixtures will occur.
  2. Ask for proof of these inspections. There should be more than just a photo or diary note-they should have an inspection test plan stating what, when, and how this was checked.
  3. Ask to attend inspection stages and the defect inspection.
  4. Ask for photos of items that are concealed behind ceilings and wall linings that may not be easy to inspect later.
  5. If you have concerns but they try to tell you otherwise and it still doesn’t sit right, get someone else involved such as the designer, client-side project manager, engineer, or even yet, the certifier. That’s right, the certifier will not accept something that is defective.
  6. Ask for the standards applicable to identify that works have been correctly completed.
  7. Ask to see their inspection test plan. This is a document that is a legal document saying items installed meet codes and standards and if found to be false can be used in legal matters.
  8. Ask for a copy of the Operation & Maintenance manuals – reason being this is where you find all the products, sign offs, and also warranty information. Some items carry more than 2 years of warranty and as such the cost to replace is 100% free.
  9. Work with a company such as Innovatus Projects who understand that defects can occur, however, we don’t hide them in hopes that they’re never found.

If there’s a defect, we will be upfront and advice how and when it will be rectified. What’s the point in hiding something only to realise you will be back later to rectify it and it will cost more to do so?

Clients should have 100% transparency & trust

Clients should have 100% transparency & trust in the builder they work with to provide them a quality product and that’s why at Innovatus Projects we will provide an 18-months defect liability period on all our works not just 12 months!

If you are thinking or planning a project and would like to discuss how Innovatus Projects can deliver this for you, Contact us today and lets have that coffee.

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