Most lot owners within strata schemes have a general awareness
of the fact that statutory and contractual warranties apply to
various aspects of the building, plant and equipment contained in
their scheme. However, as the adage goes; the devil is in the
Manufacturer's and installer's warranties can vary
significantly in their terms and this can have a dramatic legal
effect upon the respective party's obligations as well as the
ability of the Body Corporate to claim under the warranty.
Bodies Corporate have strict liability for their statutory duty
to maintain the common property and structural elements of the
building (in Building Format Plan schemes).
Additionally, failure by the Body Corporate to maintain the
building in accordance with the maintenance manuals applicable to
the particular items within a building (windows, handrails,
paintwork, waterproofing etc) may result in the Body Corporate
being unable to enforce those warranties.
STATUTORY AND CONTRACTUAL WARRANTIES
Every time building works are undertaken on scheme land or a new
piece of plant and equipment is installed, a web of contractual and
statutory rights and obligations are created between the Body
Corporate, the installer and the manufacturer.
Therefore, for each item of new works, the Body Corporate must
ensure that it is aware of:
The dates of expiry of the various warranties;
The applicable time periods for notification of the existence
of defects and/or making any claims pursuant to the
The specific details of the parts of the works which are
covered under the various warranties. For example, the building
products themselves are covered under the manufacturer's
warranty and the quality of the installation works will be covered
under the installer's warranty, the total works may also be
subject to various statutory warranties;
The particular limitations, conditions and exclusions of the
The process for dealing with any disputes which may arise out
of a warranty claim.
BEST PRACTICE FOR WARRANTIES AND MAINTENANCE OBLIGATIONS
In order for Bodies Corporate to appropriately manage
their building and assets it is vital that they:
Ensure that they have in their possession or control all of the
contract and warranty documents;
Maintain a register of the applicable expiry dates as well as
the scheduling of any necessary maintenance;
Record the dates and details of any maintenance and repair
works undertaken by the contractor and/or the Body Corporate;
Schedule regular building inspection reports to be undertaken
in sufficient time prior to the expiry of the limitation periods in
the warranties to ensure that the Body Corporate is in the best
position to accurately access the condition of the building and
assets and has the appropriate evidence to make a warranty claim if
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Warranties can be risk-shifting mechanisms when the party giving the warranty is not the party at fault for the defect.
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