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house-second-headeraa1jpg-1Consumers who attempt to build, extend, renovate or do repairs are totally unprotected and we can prove that this has been the case for the last 23 years. Many independent inquiries have confirmed this fact, but no government will listen or act to stop what is essentially ‘legalized’ building fraud. Just read some of the stories of those whose lives have been ruined, Then come join us and be part of bringing about genuine change. 

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The article below explains how a proper specification can make the difference between a well-built home and a defect-riddled home. ... See MoreSee Less

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From about 1950, we used to have 3 banks… the State Bank of Victoria, the Commonwealth bank and the Bank of New South Wales.

And all of the way up until about 1985 they looked after most home owners who borrowed money from them.

They had a Valuer check over the home they were lending on for established homes.

For new homes, they had inspectors who checked that each stage had been reached before they paid the builder.
They also had specifications with all of the detailed workmanship clauses necessary for good quality work.

They cared.

Now they don’t need to care, because they are such large concerns… and the average land value rises sufficiently almost every year; and safeguards their other risk factors… even if the one in a thousand new home builds was a disaster and the owners went bankrupt. (Nowadays it's more like 2% for lemons).

And they asked home owners to prove they could raise money over a 6 month period... and they also asked for a deposit to safeguard their investment. This meant that new home owners were very likely to be able to withstand the added financial pressure if interest rates rose markedly in the future for a time.

We’re fairly certain that they didn’t give interest-only loans with virtually no deposit required as is very often the case today... well until quite recently anyway.

We have also had very low interest rates for a sustained period of time… and there are on average two bread winners nowadays compared with just one breadwinner per household in the 1960’s.

All of this has led to the ratio of household debt to household income being much higher than ever before.

Recent purchasers of homes are potentially headed for disaster… and only very recently did the government talk about putting the brakes on interest-only loans and talk about the imminent return of mandatory deposits and restrictions on repayments as a percentage of household income… and not without good reason, albeit so late in the piece.

Australia can expect tens of thousands of bankruptcies if interest rates jump suddenly by just 2 or 3%.

The banks and the government used to seem to care about home owners.

Once upon a time… until about 1985 banks were in charge of specifications with detailed workmanship clauses. Now there are no workmanship clauses at all in the HIA and MBA Standard Project Specifications.

VBAG is amazed that these 'half-specifications are permitted to be published at all in their current format.

The signatories to these specifications should hang their collective heads in shame… and that includes the Royal Australian Institute of Architects... SHAME.

All governments of Australia together as COAG, colluded in 1995 to produce the Domestic Buildings Contract Act 1995, which basically re-defined ‘Specification’ to mean just a list of materials amongst an array of unfairness to consumers.

Immediately there no longer any requirement to mention the labour content of construction of new homes… how tradesmen are supposed to assemble those materials in a manner which lasts a reasonable length of time.

33 years later today, many tradesmen do not know how to perform long-lasting work it seems... or are not paid sufficient to carry out such time-consuming work.


Today we see very littler evidence sure that governments and banks care at all about building consumers and home owners… it’s all about profit and GDP.

VBAG keeping interested building consumers well informed.
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We have had a record (millennium) drought which ended just 8 years ago.. and the authorities are basically ignoring its longer-term effects, just at they ignored its initial effects. This message also applies to units replacing an existing house.

Yeah… but that was 8 years ago… so all that stuff on heave & settlement is no longer an issue… right?


The millennium drought lasted 13.5 years… and super-dried the soils in virtually all of Victoria and southern NSW and more (see B.O.M. map shown in earlier article).

And this super-drying-out of the soil affected areas below the zone of little moisture variation… and this drying out process was long enough to affect under at least the edges of buildings as well.

Generally the more reactive the clay, the more affected the soil… but this depends on several other factors including a very important one, the depth of the reactive soil profile. Then there is drainage, trees and more.

The point is though, usually when a house is removed after (say) 40 years of existence, the soil under the house (particularly for brick veneer and slid brick houses is as a general rule… pretty damn dry… and the re-build is usually founded partly on this soil AND the soil outside the original house envelope.

Our point is that proper reinstatement (re-moistening) of this bone-dry soil is extremely important if you wish to avoid mega-problems in the future…


So you will possibly need to rent for a longer period than you planned for… and the easiest thing to do is to allow the builder to start earlier than he should.

In fact we advise to be very wary of any builder (and also soil testing firm) who allows starting the re-build in less than at least 3 months (6 months minimum might be safer because of the effects of the millennium drought) after the smoothing out of the soil process which follows removal of the old house footings.

BECAUSE our rainfall since the millennium drought has been anything but normal (or anywhere near average) for more than 2 of the 8 years since.


2010 ended up being an average rainfall total, but 3 months were under 50% and 3 other months only 65%... that's half the year well under average.

Since 2000 our annual rainfall (as a percentage of average rainfall) has been 123% / 92%, 82%, 63%, 61%, 90% and 79%... we think not sufficient to return all the moisture dried out during the millennium drought.

This year looks headed for just 57% of the average rainfall... perhaps a little less.


SO do not get complacent… and do not let the soil engineer or the builder make you rush your project without proof that moisture has returned deep down to your soil… particularly in reactive or highly reactive clay areas…

Otherwise you might ruin your dream homes by permitting differential soil movements to occur.

VBAG keeping interested building consumers well informed.
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Feel free to scroll down to 00's of VBAG articles...

One reveals that $3 Billion worth of defects are left in new homes each year
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Combustible Cladding Bombshell

September 16, 2018

How apartment owners got hooked to pick up the massive bill for non-compliant cladding that was not fire rated.   Victoria’s Planning Minister, Richard Wynne recently dropped a bombshell on thousands of apartment owners whose buildings are covered in flammable cladding. New loan laws likely to be passed by Parliament have been billed as a … Read more

Victoria’s building industry is failing consumers

September 3, 2016

Victoria’s building industry is failing consumers Fifth Estate 2 July 2015 Anne Paten, Victorian Building Action Group | 2 July 2015 The verdict on Victoria’s domestic building industry is in and on the public record. And it’s not pretty. The evidence of the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office Audit into Victoria’s Consumer Protection Framework for Building Construction … Read more

The Great Australian Dream: Spin, Lies and Fantasy

September 3, 2016

The Great Australian Dream: Spin, Lies and Fantasy 69 SHARED THIS Contributor: Anne Paten Published: 21 September 2015 Victoria’s ‘Great Australian Dream’ industry is supported and stimulated by spin, lies and fantasy. The building companies’ spin includes the ‘dream’ as a star fantasy feature. The standard slogans include ‘Build your Dream into Reality,’ ‘Create Your Dream … Read more

Consumer Protection Reform Strategy Fails. Dodgy shonky bad builders prevail.

September 3, 2016

Why the Consumer Protection Reform Strategy Fails and dodgy shonky bad builders prevail. By Anne Paten Sourceable 15 July 2015 LINK: https://sourceable.net/why-the-consumer-protection-reform-strategy-fails 88 people shared this article No 10 of Top 10 articles for July 2015 It is clear that the Domestic Building Consumer Protection Reform Strategy was created as a mirage, to give a … Read more

Was Australia’s Unaffordable Housing Crisis Avoidable?

September 3, 2016

Was Australia’s Unaffordable Housing Crisis Avoidable? Over recent decades, the price of Australia’s housing stock has continued to soar. Now in 2016, we have reached a crisis point where, for so many Australian families, the dream of owning their own home is no longer achievable. However, Australia’s ‘unaffordable housing syndrome’ did not happen inadvertently or … Read more

What Lies Ahead in Construction: Leadership or More Licentiousness?

September 3, 2016

What Lies Ahead in Construction: Leadership or More Licentiousness? Published in Sourceable 31 August 2015 143 people shared this article By Anne Paten Link: https://sourceable.net/what-lies-ahead-leadership-or-more-licentiousness It is clear that we have a major crisis in the Victorian building industry. Hundreds of thousands of Victorians are living in limbo, casualties of a blatantly non-compliant and completely … Read more

Over the last fifteen years, there have more than one hundred (100) Inquiries into the building industry and its governance. These have included parliamentary inquiries and investigations by the Auditor-General, the Productivity Commission, the Ombudsman and other independent organizations. 

The Victorian building industry has suffered from systematic and systemic failure for decades. We now have overwhelming evidence to confirm that this ‘system’ has been malfunctioning for the last 22 years.

After decades of criticism of  the Building Commission’s failure as the ‘industry regulator’, and following damning Reports from the Victorian Auditor-General (2011 and 2013) and a scathing Report from the Victorian Ombudsman in 2012, the Government decided that the Building Commission’s record was so tarnished that it had to be abolished.

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