This study investigates the defect management strategies of small and medium residential building enterprises (SMEs) in Queensland, Australia, towards developing a model for the risk management of most recurring defects. A defects causation topology retrieved from the literature is combined with the results of a questionnaire survey of 427 residential construction trade respondents and validated by a focus group of experienced building practitioners. The results show 42 taxonomies grouped into three main categories: management strategies to organizational influences, defective supervision, and preconditions for defective acts. Communication and information sharing about defects are essential, as the industry relies on individual experience to solve defects-related problems. The most recurring defects for the Builder trade are Concrete driveways and paths, guttering and eaves construction defects, and Stormwater drainage pipework installation and workmanship defects. The most popular management strategies for the Carpentry trade are cupboard installation and workmanship defects, stairs and balustrade defects, and timber doors and windows defects. The findings suggest that residential construction trades face repetitive difficulties in implementing on-site defect management strategies, with SMEs resistant to new trends and continuing to use conventional practice methods based on "known ways of doing things" rather than innovation and updated defect management strategies.