Buying a home is an exciting but equally stressful experience for most homebuyers. At BCI WA, we understand how overwhelming it can be to navigate through these complexities.This newsletter aims to provide you with clear guidance on what to do when faced with a major structural defect in a house inspection.

 

Identifying a Major Structural Defect

First things first: confirm that your inspection report explicitly states a major structural defect. Without this confirmation, the associated procedures and protections can’t be invoked.

Structural defects are defined as “a fault or deviation from the intended structural performance of a building element.”

These defects can be classified as ‘minor’ or ‘major’ and can range from cracks and wall dents to more serious issues like the roof structure collapsing.

A building’s major structural elements are load-bearing components such as:

  • Footings
  • Floors
  • Walls
  • Beams
  • Joints

Steps to Address Major Structural Defects

  1. Serve the Report: Ensure the building inspection report is provided to the seller or their authorized agent by the due date.
  2. Issue a Notice: Within three days of serving the report, issue a Major Structural Defects Notice to the seller or their agent.

Failure to follow these steps may result in losing your entitlements.

 

Seller’s Response to a Defect Notice

Upon receiving your notice, the seller has several options:

  • Not Remediate: The seller may choose not to fix the defects.
  • No Response: If the seller does not respond, it effectively means they will not remediate the defects.
  • Agree to Remediate: The seller can choose to remediate the defects and must notify you in writing of their intention by a specified date.

If the Seller Chooses to Remediate

If the seller agrees to remediate, they must:

  • Use a WA registered builder.
  • Complete the work expeditiously and to a high standard.
  • Provide evidence of the completed work.
  • Defer settlement until the work is certified as complete by their builder.

     

If the Seller Does Not Remediate

If the seller opts not to fix the defects, you can choose to terminate the contract within a specific timeframe. Otherwise, the contract will proceed with you obliged to purchase the property as-is.

 

Validating Completed Work

You are entitled to a certification from the seller’s builder indicating the work completion. This certification must include the builder’s registration number, which you can verify through the Building and Energy’s register of WA registered builders.

 

Extending the Scope of Inspection

Consider extending the scope of your inspection to cover defects in structures beyond the residential building, such as pergolas or carports. This option is often overlooked but can be beneficial.

 

Finding a WA Registered Builder

If a registered builder is unavailable, you and the seller can agree on alternative solutions, such as price reductions or using other trades. However, these alternatives may reduce your protections.

 

Conclusion

Dealing with major structural defects can be complex, but following the necessary steps precisely is crucial. If you need further assistance, our team at BCI WA, along with your agents, conveyancers, and lawyers, are here to help. We’re committed to making your home-buying journey as smooth as possible.

Feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns. We’re here to support you every step of the way.