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In this video, OMB Solicitors Partner Juliette Nairn delves into the requirement of bodies corporate to obtain an expert report for building defects.



Today, I was wanting to speak about some of the changes and one, in particular, that’s occurred in our modules. As we all know in our body corporate industry, our modules changed on 1 March 2021. With respect to one of those changes, it is a requirement for a body corporate at its second Annual General Meeting to put up a motion. 

So it’s a motion proposed by the committee that the body corporate lawyers Gold Coast resolves to obtain an expert report of the whole of its building dealing with residential building defects. As a result of that change in the legislation, we’ve had a number of inquiries from body corporates and committees about, well, if the legislation says we have to do it at the second Annual General Meeting, does that mean we can’t do it at the third Annual General Meeting, or can we only get one report? Or if we don’t get that one report, have we missed our opportunity? So we’re going to answer some of those questions. 

A body corporate, with respect to submitting a building defects report either to a builder to carry out rectification work or to go to QBCC, can submit any number of reports and make any number of claims to QBCC for the rectification of residential building defects. In addition to that, a body corporate or a committee can make a decision to procure so to facilitate and engage experts to do any number of expert reports regarding their building. And that could happen at the first Annual General Meeting and anywhere up to the 10th Annual General Meeting.

The purpose of the change in the module is simply to bring the matter to the attention of the body corporate and its committee to say you are a new building. During the first three to six years of your body corporate that potentially could be latent defects or in the earliest stages of your building, there could be minor defects while the builder is still around. And we want you to put forward that motion where it’s a legal requirement for you to obtain a defects liability report about residential building defects affecting your building. That’s all that section really deals with.

From my perspective, I wanted the legislators to go further with their change to the module. I wanted the legislators to do what we recommend body corporates do, which is at their first Annual General Meeting.

So this is the first time that a body corporate is in control of the meeting after the initial period from the original owner. But at that time, it consider the type of motions to go on its first Annual General Meeting, and at that time, say we want to hire an independent expert to look over all our aspects of common property and report to us as to whether or not there is any problems within our building. Because at that first Annual General Meeting, it’s quite possible that the original owner, the developer, still exists and that the builder is still attending to other defects pursuant to the building contract it signed with the original owner. 

So I would have liked the legislators to have actually made it mandatory at that time for a body corporate lawyers Gold Coast its first Annual General Meeting to specifically deal with those residential building defects. Obviously, this is a very big topic at the moment, particularly when we look at what happened in Miami in the United States with the falling down of that building and we’ll certainly learn a lot in the future with respect to those types of buildings, but particularly here in Queensland where we have substantial building work and new builds going on at the moment which are in the vicinity of the beachfront, they’re built on sand, are affected by weather, are affected by poor building practices and are affected by sinkholes. We are going to really need to focus in the future on residential building defects and we need to start looking at those issues now. 

So just a reminder when you’re dealing with a new build and particularly at your second Annual General Meeting, remember the new requirement in the module. But based on my recommendation, take it a step further and deal with those issues at your first Annual General Meeting. 

Thank you very much for taking the time to listen to me today. As you are aware, I’m Juliette Nairn of OMB Solicitors and residential building defects and dealing with them from a body corporate lawyers Gold Coast perspective is something that I have done since 1997 and it’s something that I’m quite passionate in making sure that we’re increasing the building standards within our body corporate buildings, particularly in Queensland.

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