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Warranties & Australian Standards

One of the many variables homeowners need to consider when home renovating is how to protect their project investment on different levels so that they are covered in case something goes wrong or adjustments need to be made. Understanding how a warranty protects you and what are the types of warranties available will help you make informed decisions.

Types of warranties

Here are the most popular types of Standards and warranties that cover various aspects of a home renovation:

Statutory warranties

These relate to the products and quality of workmanship and are written into law by your state or territory government. In NSW the Home Building Act 1989 provides a statutory warranty for services provided – 6 years for a breach that results in a major defect in residential building work or 2 years in any other case.
This Act provides that whenever licensed contractors carry out residential building work, there is implied into the contract certain warranties which may not be avoided. They are:
  • that the work will be performed in a proper and workmanlike manner and in accordance with the plans and specifications set out in the contract;
  • that all materials supplied by the holder or person will be good and suitable for the purpose for which they are used and that, unless otherwise stated in the contract, those materials will be new;
  • that the work will be done in accordance with, and will comply with, this or any other law;
  • that the work will be done with due diligence and within the time stipulated in the contract, or if no time is stipulated, within a reasonable time;
  • that, if the work consists of the construction of a dwelling, the making of alterations or additions to a dwelling or the repairing, renovation, decoration or protective treatment of a dwelling, the work will result, to the extent of the work conducted, in a dwelling that is reasonably fit for occupation as a dwelling;
  • that the work and any materials used in doing the work will be reasonably fit for the specified purpose or result, if the person for whom the work is done expressly makes known to the holder of the contractor license or person required to hold a contractor license, or another person with express or apparent authority to enter into or vary contractual arrangements on behalf of the holder or person, the particular purpose for which the work is required or the result that the owner desires to achieve, so as to show that the owner relies on the holder’s skill and judgment.
The effect of this legislation is to incorporate into every residential building contract those terms as if they were warranties which the parties had agreed would bind the builder at the time when the contract was signed. They have effect as terms of the building contract and may be sued upon if the builder breaches any of them.

Australian Standards

As governed by the Home Building Acts in each State, these Standards regulate everything from materials used in the manufacture of products, to how these are manufactured and then installed. It is therefore important that your supplier is aware, keeps up to date, and complies with these standards, and makes reasonable effort to ensure that the products they provide also comply. For instance, in NSW your tiler is required to supply a certificate of compliance for the waterproofing, to ensure they have complied with Australian Standards.

Manufacturer’s warranties and statutory consumer guarantees for products and materials:

  • Manufacturers usually provide warranties on the products, fittings and appliances they supply for your renovations. A new fridge, for example, is likely to come with at least a 12-month warranty, and if anything goes wrong with it during the warranty period, you probably won’t have any trouble getting it repaired or replaced as covered in the manufacturer’s warranty documentation. These warranties apply with certain conditions, for example, that products are used and installed as prescribed.
  • The manufacturer’s warranty on an appliance such as a fridge could be two years, while the warranty on its motor could be up to 10 years. Some higher-end appliances may have long or more substantial warranties.
  • Some retailers and brands also offer extended warranties on products at the time of purchase, but given the reasonably long life of some appliances, it’s worth seriously considering if this is a worthwhile purchase.
  • For products such as benchtops, Caesarstone Australia, for example, warrants the product to be free from defects for a period of 10 years from manufacture.
Naturally, also ensure your contractor has a sensible warranty for the joinery they provide. Some may promise much, but deliver little.
When selecting your various products for your renovation, warranties and ease of access to after service, are therefore important considerations.
A final tip – be sure to safely store all your receipts and documentation from the renovation, so that if you do need to have an item repaired or replaced, or if an insurance claim is required, you can easily supply proof of purchase.
Ensure your contractor is able to guide you and cover all necessary warranty aspects.