De Marco Thinks publishes articles from associate service providers from time to time. The article below has been prepared by David Pockett, a co-founder of Metropolis Solutions Pty Ltd and a Chartered Loss Adjuster. David writes about the important area of domestic plumbing defects and the mandatory insurance scheme available to home owners - Editor
Plumbing problems can plague even the most expensive of homes. Mysterious ceiling stains, mould patches and water coming from light fittings during heavy rain along with inadequate heating, cooling or hot water are all warning signs of potential plumbing defects. More spectacular and dangerous defects often include ceilings collapsing and internal flooding, or even fires.
Often lawyers are called upon to try and get some satisfaction from the builder, but Builders Warranty in Victoria at least is only of ‘last resort’. This means the builder has to be dead, missing or bankrupt, or in some cases in default of a VCAT order, before the insurance can even be accessed. Until that point, you have to try and get the builder to deal with the situation personally and at his own cost.
Victoria does however have a very unique consumer protection insurance scheme covering the work of licenced plumbers. This protection, courtesy of the Licenced Plumbers General Insurance Order 2002 is empowered under the Building Act 1993 and unlike Builders Warranty, can be accessed under a very diverse range of circumstances as first resort insurance.
Unfortunately very little is known about the Victorian Plumbers Warranty scheme, even by experienced construction law specialists, so you need to speak to the right people. Certain time limits also apply in which to make any claim and there may also be restrictions on certain parts of claims.
Claims are made direct against the licenced plumber who certified the work on the Plumbing Certificate of Compliance.
Some of the Plumbers Warranty scheme’s features include mandatory, fully insurance backed cover for the fair and reasonable costs associated with:
Rectifying defective plumbing work
Fixing damage caused e.g by leaks
Consequential financial losses e.g temporary accommodation during repairs
Any damage to property or personal injury caused by the plumber
Legal costs and other expenses incurred to make the claim
Cover extends to also include issues associated with defective products supplied by the plumber (Trades Practices Liability) and remarkably also includes the right for a consumer e.g home owner, to make a claim on the insurance in a diverse range of situations including if the plumber refuses to notify his insurer of the claim or even when the plumber fails to pay the claim excess. Provided the plumber has been issued the policy documents, the insurer cannot even avoid the claim in the event of any fraud or material non-disclosure on the plumbers part in obtaining the policy of insurance.
This is a very specialist area and the right advice needs to be sought to make sure any claim goes through without undue difficulty. You also need to make sure that you recover fair and reasonable compensation. Metropolis Solutions (www.metropolis.melbourne) works exclusively in this field and is the only firm doing so. Run by a Chartered Loss Adjuster and Forensic Plumber with decades of insurance and plumbing experience, Metropolis Solutions can be consulted on Victorian Plumbers Warranty matters directly or else instructed through De Marco Lawyers incorporating Judicate Lawyers.
Metropolis provides a range of services including:
Expert reports on plumbing defects
Claims preparation to ensure all legitimate items are included and recovered in full
Advice to parties involved in any claim under the Victorian Plumbers Warranty scheme
For any information concerning this article, please contact David Pockett, Co-founder and Chartered Loss Adjuster, Metropolis Solutions Pty Ltd of Level 2, 541 Blackburn Road, Mount Waverley Vic 3149.