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Defect insurance policy for NSW developers

The NSW Government has announced the introduction of a new insurance product “decennial liability insurance”. Whilst already available in 30 other countries, this is Australia’s first.

Under the scheme, developers or builders would be required to take out an insurance policy to cover the potential costs to fix serious defects of critical building elements for up to 10 years. Critical building elements generally include structural items, fire safety systems and waterproofing.

The liability of the developer or builder will be a strict one. In other words, all that needs to be proven is the damage caused by the defect. There is no need to prove negligence on the part of the developer or builder.

A regulatory impact statement is being prepared to mandate the insurance product to support the broader rollout of this consumer protection product for NSW apartment building owners.