The builder of a Braddon apartment complex is being sued for significant waterproofing defects, structural-steel corrosion and cracked masonry, almost 15 years after the development was first deemed ready to occupy.
The ACT Supreme Court reserved its decision in the case on Wednesday, after hearing eight days of evidence and submissions.
The proceedings relate to problems with the Lagani Apartments development in Fawkner Street in Braddon.
The complex was deemed ready to occupy on December 20, 2000, but the owners say they soon began to notice water leaks and other defects.
The owners made repeated complaints about the work to the builder, Michael Koundouris, who investigated and came to repair the building between 2001 and 2009.
But the owners allege the repairs were inadequate and the defects remained.
They launched civil action through firm Minter Ellison in 2010, and gave the particulars of their claim to the defence in early 2013.
The claim is for about $1.3 million.
The defects, the owners say, relate to the glass-panel coating, corrosion of structural steel, cracks in the facade masonry and render, cracks in fibre-cement, and waterproofing failures on balconies, in bathrooms, the podium deck, and on the roof.
Significant water leakages were said to be occurring, and the cracks were allegedly the consequence of insufficient movement-control joints in the complex.
One of the critical issues in the case is the delay, as proceedings began a decade after the complex was finished and ready to be occupied.
The defendants argue the case is out of time, both under the statutory warranty period for the building work and the Limitations Act.
The statutory warranty period for the work was five years.
But the parties dispute when that five-year period should start.
The owners say they are in time because there was a continuing breach or a series of breaches of the warranty, because the builder never fixed the problems with the apartment complex.
The plaintiff, represented by barrister Frank Hicks, said the owners believed the builder's assurances that he would fix the defects between 2001 and 2009.
The defendants, however, argued time must start accruing when the owners either knew or ought to have known about the problems with the building.
The water leaks began in 2001 and 2002, the defendants argue, but the owners failed to get expert reports or legal advice, despite the idea being floated to them.
"They simply haven't done so," the defence argued on Wednesday.
"Then they seek to impose this case on us ... something like 15 years after the certificate of occupancy was issued."
The defendants claim that even if they lose the limitations argument, they should not pay more than $250,000 for the rectification work.
Associate Justice David Mossop has reserved his decision in the case, and the parties will make further written submissions in coming weeks.
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