Great question, but it’s one that has an obvious answer. Recently, I inspected two units that were built with so many defects that I was dumbfounded at how bad the builder’s work could be. I have inspected many new buildings in my time, but I have never encountered anything this bad before. The owner of the units was extremely stressed and didn’t know what to do. The builder had been working on the project for 734 days and still hadn’t finished. Under these circumstances, the owner had every right to terminate the building contract and should have received appropriate compensation.
It turned out that the solicitor he hired was not well-informed about the building requirements and was not providing relevant advice. The client was being charged $450 per hour and was on the verge of going broke. It is crucial to hire a solicitor with experience in VCAT who can assist in resolving building dispute contracts legally without having to spend a fortune on legal fees.
There were significant issues with the flooring on one of the units. Specifically, the front half of the house was built on stumps, while the rear half was constructed on a concrete slab. Unfortunately, the concrete slab floor level was not aligned with the front half of the house and was out of alignment by 45mm. As a result, the entire rear section of the build was out of alignment with the rest of the house. It is concerning that the building surveyor did not identify this issue.
Furthermore, the energy report’s Specifications section 1.0 stipulated that all windows and sliding doors were to be double glazed. However, the builder ignored these specifications and installed single glazing instead.
“Shouldn’t the building surveyor have noticed these issues? But no, he didn’t. Even though termite protection was required, it wasn’t provided. The appliances installed were different from what the specifications required. The timber used, including lintels and beams, was supposed to be treated pine, but this requirement was overlooked. The bricks used were also a different color than what was specified. Additionally, no insulation was installed in the roof space, no ladders were provided for manholes, balustrades were not installed in the correct position as per working drawings, no instantaneous hot water service or water tank was installed, and the list goes on. It’s unbelievable, but unfortunately true.”
The VBA states that Building surveyors and building inspectors are responsible for making sure that buildings are safe, energy efficient and livable.
Building surveyors interact with other professionals such as engineers, architects, and builders to ensure that buildings are designed and constructed in compliance with building regulations and the building permit. They review stamped engineering drawings and working drawings. Building surveyors also prepare a written record of building work inspected, documenting details of non-compliant features.
Unfortunately, it seems that the Building surveyor in this case did not comply with the above requirements of the Victorian Building Authority (VBA). It is always recommended to get your new building inspected by a registered building practitioner. Taking shortcuts may lead to non-compliance issues and can be costly. For the small cost involved, it’s well worth it to ensure the safety and quality of your building.
If you have any queries, feel free to contact George at 0450 632 867.