Making Insurance Claims for Incomplete Construction Work
If you’re building a house, you should be aware that the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) may be able to provide assistance for any loss that is sustained in the event of defective or incomplete work through the Home Warranty Insurance Scheme.
The catch, however, is that you need to carefully follow the QBCC process and rules which can be very onerous at times, to ensure that your application is not excluded.
One of these conditions is that the relevant building contract must be properly terminated before a claim is made, otherwise it could result in the QBCC disallowing the claim. In a recent decision of Allen & Taylor v Queensland Building and Construction Commission  QCAT 63 the importance of complying with the legislative pre-conditions were emphasised.
In that particular case, the question was whether the homeowners had properly terminated their residential building contract prior to making a claim under the Scheme, which is a condition precedent to being able to access the home warranty insurance. In this case, the builder entered into a contract with the homeowners in early 2016, but little progress was made at the time of termination. In November 2017, the homeowners served a Notice of Substantial Breach for a number of breaches, including failure to complete the standard of work required and terminated the contract.
The Tribunal decided that the contract was not properly terminated under clause 1.2 of the Scheme. This clause sets out that the QBBCC will only pay for losses sustained when the contract with the contractor has been properly terminated. While the homeowner’s contract gave them the right to terminate in the event of a breach by the contractor, the Tribunal held that there was no breach on the basis that:
- the defects that the homeowners alleged would have been capable of remedy following the completion of the house; and
- the contractor was both willing and capable of completing the project.
Given that the Tribunal felt that the builder was able to provide a response to the Notice to Show Cause, it was determined that the defects that the homeowners claimed were not substantial enough to justify their termination of the contract. As a result, it was held that they were not able to make a claim under the Scheme.
If you’re concerned about the progress or quality of your residential building project, it’s important that you act carefully if you want to ensure that you can make a claim under the QBCC Act.
If you think you may need to bring a claim, contact the team at Enterprise Legal to discuss your rights, obligations, and options to ensure that you aren’t barred from making a claim: