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Acting on building defects

By Frank Higginson10 Feb 2010

We are all aware that these days people who are injured are very quick to blame someone else for their injuries, and this is translating into an increasing number of legal claims being made against bodies corporate.

The first step to avoid the claims is to make sure that the premises are in good condition, and that regular reports are sought from experts who assess those risks.

The second step is to make sure that the expert’s recommendations are actually implemented. We have recently had two cases where the committee has failed to implement the required changes, and a person has been injured from the identified problem. In both instances a person slipped on stairs.

Obviously it is not just guests who get injured from defects – it could be you!

As advised in an earlier newsletter on building defects, the failure to remedy defects may jeopardise the body corporate’s insurance, so it is vital that the recommendations are implemented as soon as possible, and immediate preventative steps are taken.

Another incentive for remedying any defects is that even if the insurance is valid, the body corporate is likely to face a significant excess for the first claim, and it will greatly increase for any later claims.

It is the body corporate’s responsibility to ensure that the recommendations are implemented. Unless it is specifically agreed, it is not for the body corporate manager, or the caretaker, to make sure that the changes are implemented. The instructions need to come from the committee.

Given that a claim can be for tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, no body corporate can afford to risk the insurance being cancelled, so get those defects remedied!