Act provides some building guarantees
The Consumer Guarantees Act can provide you with some protection for the quality of goods and services you purchase when you build a house or do other work around home.
The Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 provides that goods and services must meet certain guarantees.
In most cases, the manufacturer or the trader is bound by these guarantees.
The act covers goods you buy, such as materials and appliances for the house, as well as the services provided by your architect, designer, builder or other contractors.
The act does not apply to goods bought at auction or tender or at a private sale, for example, if you buy a second-hand mantelpiece through the paper.
Neither does it apply when you buy an existing house and the land that goes with it. Materials you buy must be: Of acceptable quality. Fit for their normal purpose. Fit for any particular purpose that you make known to the supplier.
A price reasonable for the type and quality of goods, where price has not been agreed. Guaranteed as to title. Where the goods are bought by the builder, and you buy them off the builder, then the builder is the supplier of those goods under the act.
This means that you have remedies against the builder as supplier.
If you buy the goods direct from a retailer, your remedies will be against the retailer as the supplier of the goods.
The services provided by your designer, builder or other contractors must:
Be performed with reasonable care and skill. Result in fitness for a particular purpose. Be completed within a reasonable time if a time was not agreed beforehand.
Not cost more than a reasonable or going market price if you did not agree on a price beforehand.
If the goods and services don’t meet these standards you have remedies under the Act.
When you buy goods you can expect them to be guaranteed as to title, that is they are being sold by the person with the right to sell them and that you own them completely.
If you buy goods where the supplier does not have the right to sell them, the guarantee as to title provides you with a claim against the supplier to have the defect in title corrected, or damages where this cannot be done.
Note that contracts for the supply of building materials frequently include retention of title clauses, which essentially reserve rights to the goods to the supplier until they are paid for.
Goods are of acceptable quality if they are fit to be used in such a way that is usual for that type of goods, they are reasonably durable, have no significant defects and are acceptable in look and finish.
Note, however, that if the existence of any defect was specifically drawn to your attention, then according to the act the guarantee does not apply in respect of those goods.