This information is for people who have recently built a new home or completed renovations. To ensure your new building work remains trouble-free for many years, it is important you take the time to understand how to maintain your home and keep the relevant records.
Make sure you are prepared for potential problems that may arise - it is important to keep all relevant records as you build or renovate.
The following lists some of the types of records you should keep:
Closely inspect the finished project and list any items of concern. Contracts for new homes come with a warranty known as the ‘defects and liability period’ (usually 13 weeks for new homes). Ask your builder for more detail, as the period covered can vary from builder to builder. If you find items of concern, let the builder know in writing and keep a copy.
Legally, it’s the contractor’s responsibility to make sure the work is free of major defects for 6 years after the work is completed and 2 years for all other defects (however, fair wear and tear must be taken into account). Go to Fair Trading's Contracts web page to read about the Definition of completed work.
All new homes must have either a physical or chemical termite risk management (TRM) system built in. Find out what TRM system your home has and list the dates for future checks, inspections and chemical top-up treatments.
Read the warranty provided with the TRM system. Consider having an annual pest inspection done and make sure you use a licensed pest controller.
To minimise the risks of termites:
Every new house built must be fitted with working and appropriately located smoke alarms that meets Australian Standard 3786. An alarm should be placed on the ceiling in a corridor or area between sleeping and living areas. A smoke alarm is also required in any other storey of the same building, even if it does not contain bedrooms. Further information about the type, location and number of smoke alarms that are to be fitted to your new home is available from the Department of Planning and Infrastructure or Fire and Rescue NSW.
New building materials contain moisture, but will eventually dry out. Small cracks may show in brick, timber and plaster-lined areas in the first 12 months. This should not affect the structural reliability but check with an independent building expert if you are unsure about larger cracks or any structural movement.
Minor cracking in a typical brick veneer home will not affect the structural reliability of the building. It is the timber frame in the typical brick-veneer house that supports the roof structure (except for the garage wall where there is often only singleskin brickwork). Minor cracking of brickwork on reactive clay sites is almost inevitable.
To maintain the brickwork on your property:
To maintain your doors and windows:
Provide more ventilation and heating or sunlight to walls with mildew problems and ensure roof and sub-floor wall vents are not blocked.
To maintain your kitchen, bathroom and/or laundry:
Regularly clean gutters, downpipes and drains to remove leaves, silt or other blockages. If you have any concerns, always use a contractor licensed to carry out roof repairs.
The security of your home is important, so you should consider:
To maintain the grounds of your property:
The Guide to Standards and Tolerances will help you understand what standard of building work is acceptable. For example, it explains how much shrinkage around timber windows and doors is tolerable.
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