Remedies for defective building products - Right to recover against manufacturer of faulty building products


When building owners occupy premises and discover a building is defective, they will often bring proceedings against a builder alleging a breach of the building contract.

However in some cases an owner may also have a right of recovery against the manufacturer of a faulty building product if that product has been used in the building and has failed.

This is because the Australian Consumer Law allows a consumer of a product which is defective to bring an action against the manufacturer in some circumstances. The Australian Consumer Law (“the ACL”) provides that a corporation which supplies goods manufactured by the corporation which through re-supply are provided to a consumer may be liable for a loss caused because the goods were not of acceptable quality.

An example of a case where such a claim was made in relation to building products was the case of Bunnings v Laminex, a 2006 decision of the Federal Court. In that case, Bunnings had acquired some insulation for the building of one of its stores which insulation had been manufactured by Laminex. The insulation was defective and Bunnings said it suffered a loss. Bunnings then made a claim against Laminex for its loss resulting from the defective insulation saying that the goods were not of merchantable quality under the similar provision in the Trade Practices Act which operated at that time.

The court in the case said that the insulation was ordinarily acquired for household use and in that case due to the defect, Bunnings had a good claim which ought to be compensated.

This type of claim may be useful where there was no contract between the consumer of the product, namely the owner of the building and the manufacturer. This is because there is no need for a contract. Even if there is no contract the owner may still be able to make a claim.

If you have any enquiries regarding the efficacy and quality of building products utilised in your construction, please do not hesitate to contact Richard Watson our accredited Building & Construction Solicitor or his assistant Shereen Da Gloria to discuss your matter and who can advise you on claims for defective buildings and defective building products.

This is only a preliminary view and is not to be taken as legal advice without first contacting Watson & Watson Solicitors on 02 9221 6011.

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