Once building work finishes

Once building work finishes

Your contractor needs to give you certain paperwork at the end of the build, and fix any defects within 12 months.

Information your contractor must give you

Your contractor must give you the following information and documents once the building work is completed, regardless of the price of the work:

  • A copy of any current insurance policy they hold for the building work completed under the contract. This does not include policies that expire when the work is completed.
  • A copy of any guarantees or warranties for materials or services used in the building work, including information about how to make a claim, if the guarantee or warranty is transferable, and if it must be signed and returned to the issuer.
  • Information about the processes and materials to be used to maintain the building work; particularly if maintenance is required to meet the requirements of the building code or maintenance that could affect any guarantee or warranty.

Make sure you get information on how to maintain your home and that you budget for this work – it’s an ongoing cost.

Defect repair period of 12 months

There is a defect repair period of 12 months from the date your building work is complete (effective 1 January 2015). If you tell contractors about any defective work before the 12 months are up, they must put it right within a reasonable timeframe from receiving written notification.

If there is a dispute, it is the contractors’ responsibility to prove that any defects are through no fault of their own (or their product).

How the process works

You must notify your contractor of any problems in writing. It is up to them to arrange and manage the repairs, including any defects in work done by subcontractors.

If you’ve contracted other tradespeople directly, you’ll need to advise them yourself (in writing) about the defective building work.

When the clock starts

The completion date is when all the physical building work agreed to by you and the contractor has been finished.

The 12-month defect repair period applies to all residential building work, regardless of the price.

Once the defect repair period ends

Implied warranties in the Building Act apply for up to 10 years, so the contractor is still obliged to fix defective work after the defect repair period ends. The main difference is that it becomes your responsibility to prove that there is a defect if the contractor does not agree the work is defective.

Acceptable levels of workmanship

MBIE has produced guidance on acceptable levels of workmanship and tolerances to help contractors and homeowners determine what is, and isn’t, defective building work.

How to identify defects

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: