Under NZ law, you're covered for:
- buildings and building materials — under the Building Act's implied warranties
- services provided by tradespeople — under the Consumer Guarantees Act
- misleading claims — under the Fair Trading Act.
Some trade associations, eg Master Builders, also offer private building guarantees that you can purchase — always check a paid extra guarantee or warranty covers you for more than you're already covered for under the law.
Building Act implied warranties
10-year implied warranty period
All residential building work in New Zealand, no matter how big or small, is covered by the implied warranties set out in the Building Act.
- last for 10 years
- apply whether they're in your contract or not — and your contract can't state that they don't apply
- also apply to work done by subcontractors employed by the main contractor.
The implied warranties are:
- all building work will be done properly, competently and according to the plans and specifications in your approved consent
- all the materials used will be suitable and, unless otherwise stated in the contract, new
- the building work will be consistent with the Building Act and the Building Code
- the building work will be carried out with reasonable care and skill, and completed within the time specified or a reasonable time if no time is stated
- the home will be suitable for occupation at the end of the work
- if the contract states any particular outcome and the homeowner relies on the skill and judgement of the contractor to achieve it, the building work and the materials will be fit for purpose and be of a nature and quality suitable to achieve that result.
12-month defect period
The Building Act also gives you an automatic 12-month repair period from the date of completion. Get your building contractor to confirm the completion date in writing to avoid any confusion.
So long as you provide written confirmation of the defect within 12 months, your contractor must put it right within a reasonable timeframe. If there is a dispute it is the contractor’s responsibility to prove that the defective work or products are not their fault.