A developer that builds or converts a home covered by a Premier Guarantee warranty must comply with our technical standards. But what happens when issues arise between developers and homeowners when standards aren’t met? That’s when our Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) may be needed.
The Dispute Resolution Service specialises in assisting both the homeowner and the developer to reach agreement and resolution on any defects that materialise within the first two years of the warranty, also known as the Defects Insurance Period.
Below you’ll find some of our frequently asked questions about the service to help you better understand what’s involved in the process.
A defect occurs when a developer fails to meet the functional requirements and performance standards as set out within our Technical Manual. You’ll find some examples of defects, possible causes and what section of the Technical Manual they relate to in the Homeowner's Handbook.
As the developer is responsible for putting things right during the first two years of cover, homeowners must tell the developer as soon as a problem is identified with their home within this time period. The developer needs to be given a reasonable amount of time to rectify the issue.
Homeowners are advised to keep a record of each issue raised with their developer, along with information of what the developer is doing to rectify the problem and any photographs or videos of the issues. This information is important if the matter comes to rely on the Dispute Resolution Service.
If the developer hasn’t rectified the problem, homeowners need to report the issue to our Dispute Resolution Service no later than six months after the expiry of the Defects Insurance Period (the specific date is detailed within the homeowner’s Certificate of Insurance).
If a developer has failed to rectify the defect and resultant damage within a reasonable timeframe, our Dispute Resolution Service may be able to help resolve the issue. Homeowners will be asked to complete a form via our portal. DRS will investigate each issue to check whether the functional requirements and performance standards were met.
Most of the time the service will be able to assess cases on a desktop basis. We may ask homeowners to send us photographs/videos of the issues and other helpful information such as leases, management agent details and contracts.
At that point we will let both the homeowner and developer know whether the issues are considered to be defects and if so, ask the developer to resolve them, while encouraging open communication between both parties.
The Dispute Resolution Service might not be the answer for all disputes. We will advise upon technical issues specifically relating to whether the developer has complied with the functional requirements of the Technical Manual. We will not advise on financial disputes, contractual issues or items that do not breach the functional requirements of the manual.
Homeowners should have completed a snagging checklist before moving into their new homes. Any damage or issues with the finish must be noted to developers at the time of inspection. Snagging issues that are minor faults, uncompleted or unsatisfactory work where the requirements are outside of the Technical Manual, are not covered under our warranty.
Other examples of exclusions to the warranty include garden features and external landscaping issues or dampness, condensation or shrinkage not caused by a defect.
More information of what is not covered is available within the homeowner’s policy. In addition, if the value of the dispute is for an amount less than the excess as determined by the policy then the Dispute Resolution Service is also not an appropriate avenue.
DRS will generally help resolve disputes covered under our warranty, but there may be times when the service is not suitable. An example may be that either the homeowner or the developer do not agree with our findings. At these times, either party may opt to appoint an independent expert at their own cost or we may refer an alternative form of dispute resolution.
It’s free. Other providers of structural warranties will charge for this service, but at Premier Guarantee it’s just another part of the service we provide. It’s there if you need it.
For items that are not covered by our policy, assistance may be available under the terms of the Consumer Code for Home Builders (CCHB). If the issue is likely to be covered by the CCHB, then we will supply a claim form on request and details of how to begin this process.