APS Recommended Procedures When Purchasing a New Unit

  1. Engage a lawyer who specialises in off- the-plan and new sales contracts to review your contract and specifically advise you on the acceptability of contract conditions relating to ‘Defects Notification’ and ‘Rectification’. Ask for prior client referrals and check them to determine what they thought of the lawyer’s skills. If contract conditions are unduly tough suggest to your lawyer that they amend the contract so that you have some redress in the event that significant defects or faults are found in your unit. This is easier to do when the market has softened and vendors are more motivated to sell.

  2. Request that the vendor provide all important construction or architectural ‘as built’ plans of your unit, which should also indicate the types of unit separating walls, preferably on an A4 sized document and give this to your building consultant prior to their inspection. Request that the vendor also provide the name and contact details of the Principal Certifying Authority for the project and provide these to your consultant or get them from Council. Always check with Council that a Certificate of Occupation has been issued for the building prior to settlement.

  3. Engage a licensed building consultant with experience in new building final defects survey reports, asking whether they include photographs in their report. Check that the consultant carries professional indemnity insurance. Request to see a sample report to determine suitability as they can be e- mailed. If you have already made your own partial list of defects provide this to your building consultant and ask that they include them within their report. If your unit incorporates ducted air conditioning seriously consider having a separate mechanical services inspection report undertaken by a qualified mechanical engineer, as building consultants do not cover these complex and expensive services.

  4. Preferably the final inspection report/s should be undertaken prior to final settlement and two copies should be forwarded to your lawyer for review and distribution of one copy to the vendor, with a covering letter. N.B* If a number of different defect report's are produced they should be submitted as a single document so as not to unfairly reduce your right to further defect notifications.

  5. If significant building defects or faults are found request that your lawyer try to negotiate withholding sufficient settlement funds to cover rectification works, until they have been completed. If this is not contractually possible ask your lawyer to request the vendor rectify your defects within the ‘defects liability period’ (usually 90 days) and provide you with written advice confirming those items which they believe they have rectified. Upon completion consider engaging your building consultant to reinspect the property to ensure works have been completed satisfactorily.