The Home Building Act (1989) was enacted largely to regulate builders carrying out residential building works and to protect the consumer.  The Act regulates the conduct of builders and building contractors and makes them liable for shonky building works.

The Act generally provides that a person must not contract to do residential building works unless they are licensed.  It also provides a number of statutory warranties relating to the work of a builder or contractor.  A person is liable for any loss suffered as a result of a breach of the provisions of the Act.

In a recent case before the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT), the Tribunal was asked to consider works carried out by a tiler, and whether the statutory warranties had been breached by the tiler.

The Applicant was the owner of a residential premises and he had registered as an owner builder.  The Applicant had gone to school with the Respondent who was a tiler.  The Applicant entered into an oral contract with the Respondent for the Respondent to carry out waterproofing work to the internal and external parts of the premises owned by the Applicant.  The agreed price for this work was $7,500.00.  It was common ground that the Respondent was not licensed to do waterproofing work and that the Applicant was aware of this.

The Applicant sought an order from the Tribunal that the Respondent pay to him the sum of $258,550.71 being the cost to rectify the waterproofing membrane to the external part of the premises which was alleged to have failed.  The Applicant had presented to the Tribunal an experts report to back up his claims.

The Tribunal was satisfied that an enforceable contract existed between the parties and that the Respondent, having accepted the contract was liable for the waterproofing work, if there was a breach of the statutory warranties.  There was no substantive evidence presented to the Tribunal by the Respondent to refute the expert evidence presented by the Applicant regarding the waterproofing.

Accordingly, the Tribunal found that the statutory warranties had been breached and ordered the Respondent to pay to the Applicant the sum of $258,550.71.