WE ARE THE ONLY CONSUMER ORGANIZATION IN AUSTRALIA REPRESENTING THE INTERESTS OF ALL BUILDING CONSUMERS

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. 

True Story Videos

Faulty Tower: What a Lemon.

Bob the bad builder

Fatal Floors, Dangerous decks.

Slab Heave

Rogue Tradies

Lana`s house building disaster

Facebook Feed

RE-POSTED REMINDER... Tell your friends to access our growing archive. There are 18 months worth of articles and the list is growing.

FEEL FREE TO SCROLL DOWN TO A WEALTH OF ARTICLES

Scroll down (particularly those of you who are just starting to visit our site)... and you might be surprised at how much information there is on our Facebook page... right back to July 19th 2015.
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

MYTHS IN THE RESIDENTIAL BUILDING INDUSTRY

Thinking of building or buying a home soon? Well read this and lower your risk.

This list of myths is going to shock quite a few people… and make you wonder just how much authorities, governments and building practitioners really care about building consumers.

Victorian Domestic Building (DB) Warranty Insurance (VIMA) is actually government owned, and is an extremely poor reflection on the government, because the insurance policies protect new home owners against virtually none of the calamities that befall thousands of owners each year. Official audits… covering one year… stated that just 3 claims (0.08%) were successful out of well over 3500 claims. DB Warranty Insurance policies (like all insurance policies), is supposed to protect owners.

The following are myths that VBAG has uncovered… so far…

VCAT MYTHS
• Costs are borne by both parties. This is not so if your experts win a substantial amount. (There are 2 other possible reasons also).
• Mediations always help.
• Automatically refers to VBA for penalizing, very likely gross misdemeanors perpetrated by builders discovered during hearings
• De-registers builders who build houses with gross workmanship.
• Audits builders who are alleged to have built houses with gross workmanship when a gag order is part of the outcome.
CONSUMER AFFAIRS MYTHS
• Ensures that you obtain what is rightfully yours (home without defects)
• Pushes for reforms that will help you obtain your rights… such as proper definitions of Specification and Defect in your building contracts.
VBA / BUILDING COMMISSION MYTHS
• Will send out building consultants to audit all defects in your home and not just look at the problems you raise (written in the small print and acts)
• Has no hidden agendas (never forget all authorities try to expedite disputes)
• Cares as a priority about the durability of your home
• Cares (as the number one priority) for your well-being
• De-registers lots of gross offender builders and building surveyors
• Does their utmost to prevent rogue builders from practicing
• Does their utmost to ensure that only capable builders are registered including acceptances from interstate-checked authorities
CONCILIATOR MYTHS
• Will be a registered building practitioner experienced in building construction
• Will have a full definition of defect and apply this at conciliations
• Will not have a hidden agenda to make the dispute vanish
• Will care about the quality of workmanship in your home
DOMESTIC BUILDING (WARRANTY) INSURANCE MYTHS
• Helps more than 0.08% of policy holders who claim
• Pays your claim without a fight
• Covers you for non-structural defects after 2 years (on policy)
• Covers you for structural defects for full warranty period and without a fight (on policy as 6 years… not the full warranty of 6.5 years… why?)
• Requires your builder to prove he is financial and to prove so regularly
• Forces the builder to toe the line
• Takes action against the builder on your behalf before you have chased the builder to bankruptcy (on policy)
• Pays out when the builder is de-registered (on policy)
• Covers you for incomplete items even when you cannot reasonably be aware of that incompletion
STANDARD BUILDING CONTRACT MYTHS
• Has a proper definition of specification
• Has a thorough definition of defect (there is none at present even though it is strongly hinted at in the Domestic Building Contracts Act; where even there it is not thoroughly spelt out)
BUILDING CONTRACT SPECIFICATION MYTHS
• Specify detailed labour (difficult work) for any of the trades
BUILDING CODE OF AUSTRALIA MYTHS
• Has / have no hidden agendas
CODE FOR RESIDENTIAL SLABS AND FOOTINGS AS2870 MYTHS
• Has no hidden agendas… one being that a few failures is acceptable
• Makes it mandatory to consider Appendix D of that code when it is uncertain if normal conditions have prevailed for some time
• Makes it mandatory to consider information relating to prior conditions
RELEVANT BUILDING SURVEYOR MYTHS
• Guarantees that your new home will comply with the BCA
• Guarantees that your new home will comply with the VBA strict guidelines for balcony construction
• Guarantees that your new home will comply with Appendix D of the Code AS2870 prior to issuing a permit to build
• Guarantees that your new home will contain no defects at any stage
CERTIFYING BUILDING INSPECTOR MYTHS
• Guarantees that your new home will comply with BCA & associated codes
• Guarantees that your new home will contain no defects at any / every stage
• Inspects with a view to finding defects
BUILDER MYTHS (Based on a Multitude of Reported Calamities)
• Has sufficient experience and/or expertise to build your home
• Will remain financial for the duration of your build
• Will warn you of the likelihood of impending bankruptcy
• Will not walk away from your home build prior to completion
• Will not become de-registered to avoid a dispute
• Will not fight you when you allege defective work exists
• Will actually agree to take no short-cuts in attending to agreed defects via an agreed scope of works
• Will not simply re-do the same way items that have already failed
• Inserts detailed workmanship clauses in your specification
• Hires an experienced builder to supervise your house construction
• Guarantees every portion of your home will last a reasonable lifetime
• Guarantees that your balcony or timber deck will be durable
• Cares enough to actually rectify defects that are discovered without a fight
• Cares enough during the early stages of the construction to ensure that defects are not built into the home and covered over by successive layers
• Cares enough to ensure that short-cutting by tradesmen does not occur
• Cares enough or be knowledgeable enough to inform your and to ensure that the correct soil classification is adopted for your home
• Will actually supervise the rectification of defects in your home
• Will not request payment for stages earlier than reasonable even if the certifier building inspector has approved a stage earlier than is reasonable
BUILDING SUPERVISOR MYTHS
• Is the builder – DB-U (unlimited responsibility) person in the firm
• Is the most experienced person in the firm (befitting this vital task)
• Is in charge of about 5 or 6 jobs at once. (Many who work for larger builders are in charge of well over 20 jobs at once… with no time to visit sites at critical times or inspect without time constraints).
• Knows what a defect is and/or ensures that no defects exist in the works
• Knows what short-cutting goes on
• Understands structures (I know one who was a plumber and another who was an electrician)
SOIL ENGINEER MYTHS
• Guarantees and states that your new home complies with Appendix D of the Code AS2870 and/or that the site has had prevailing for a sufficient period of time… normal conditions… and will state this at the start
• Guarantees that heave will not affect your home’s footings
• Carries professional indemnity insurance against negligent reporting
• Does not deliberately by-pass Appendix D so that builders can quote a lower price for the footings or slab
• Does not deliberately by-pass Appendix D so that his report costs will be in keeping with the builder’s expectations
• Does not deliberately source pre-subdivision site conditions so he can quote a lower price in keeping with the builder’s expectations
RECOMMENDATIONS ON SOIL REPORTS
• Have to be complied with (as the word says)
• Are requirements… even though adoption of one or more of these (by builder or building surveyor or architect or owner) will ensure stability in the footings in future
• Are not there so that builders can quote lower prices for footings
ARCHITECT / DRAFTSPERSON
• Ensures that workmanship detailed clauses on every trade are part of the specification
• Is in charge of the contents of the specification as regards workmanship
• Will consider shrinkage of unseasoned timbers associated with the works (This is a rare event nowadays due to seasoned timber being generally used for framing)
• Will ensure that short-cutting will not occur
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER
• Will actually question the classification in the soil report and not just blindly design as per that classification, even if it means that the footings will be more costly
• Will oversee the soil report and ensure that normal conditions have prevailed on site for a reasonable time and that Appendix D of the Code AS2870 has been complied with
• Actually understand how articulation joints need to work as regards double settlements along a wall or end heave situations
• Will consider shrinkage of unseasoned timbers associated with the works (This is a rare event nowadays due to seasoned timber being generally used for framing)
BUILDING CONSULTANTS (New Homes / Homes Under Construction / Homes Under Warranty)
Please note that not many in this field meet even 30% of these criteria… and are therefore not expert.
Although not all highlighted, virtually all of these capabilities are needed:
• Carries professional indemnity insurance (as distinct from insurance required for their registration as a registered building practitioner (VIC) on the reports they carry out (against negligence)
• Understands the Standard Building Contract
• Has a thorough definition of defect
• Has considerable knowledge on what short-cutting commonly occurs
• Has a thorough knowledge on manufacturer specs. and building science
• Has a thorough knowledge on building construction and structures… particularly the National Framing Code
• Has a thorough knowledge of the Building Code of Australia
• Gets onto the roof and traverses it to reach at least all flashings
• Gets into the roof and strives to get to as much as possible
• Gets under the timber floored houses where there is 400mm clearance (despite the code stating 600mm clearance required)
• Inspects at least the basics of roof plumbing, electrics, plumbing
• Has considerable experience inspecting new houses at all stages
• Has a full understanding of the life-expectancy of finishes and claddings
• Cares about the house
• Has experience at VCAT and will represent owners should they ask
• Knows how to acquire top experts in their field when needed
• Will continually inform and help home owners keep their resolve
NEGATING BUILDING CONSULTANT MYTHS
• Has a thorough definition of defect
• Will stick by his original quantum (to rectify defects) when seriously challenged
• Will not simply bluff on behalf of his builder client
• Has actually got to (and inspected) all of the defects being claimed
• Actually cares about your home
• Carries professional indemnity (negligence) insurance (as distinct from insurance required for their registration as a registered building practitioner (VIC) on the reports they carry out)
BUILDING CASE SOLICITOR / BARRISTER MYTHS
• Rigorously defend home owners appearing in Mediations and Compulsory Conferences from VCAT Member barrages
NEGATING BUILDING CASE SOLICITOR / BARRISTER MYTHS
• Have not told their builder clients that almost 80% of home owners give up when negated
• Have not told their builder clients that almost 90% of home owners give up when negated (fought) and VCAT seems likely
• Have informed their builder client of the likely enormous cost of a VCAT case when the home owners persevere
• Rigorously defend builder clients appearing in Mediations and Compulsory Conferences from VCAT Member barrages
TERMITE INSPECTOR (Homes of all Ages)
• Will get to areas where there is only 300mm clearance
• Will physically test for old attacks by termites
• Will use the thermal detector no further than the manufacturer-required maximum distance from walls and floor framing
• Will inspect for old termite attack (sniffer dogs may not find such attacks)
• Will not spook home owners to ensure that he gets a re-spray job
• Will not misinform owners that attacks by dampwood termites are of any more concern than requiring the dampened timber to be removed to above ground
• Will inform home owners of the need to remove what lures termites to attack, particularly timbers too close to the ground and attached to stumps installed during recent re-blocking jobs
TERMITE BARRIER INSTALLER
• Will install the cheapest alternative in the long term
• Will ensure that the builder informs the owners of the terms of the warranty prior to acceptance of the installation
BUILDING CONSULTANTS (Homes of all Ages)
• Carries professional indemnity insurance (as distinct from insurance required for their registration as a registered building practitioner (VIC) on the reports they carry out (against negligence)
• Has thorough knowledge on the life expectancy of building materials
• Has considerable knowledge on what short-cutting occurred when the house was built
• Has considerable knowledge on manufacturer specifications
• Has a thorough knowledge on building science
• Has a thorough knowledge on building construction and structures
• Gets onto the roof and traverses it to reach all flashings
• Gets into the roof and strives to get to as much as possible
• Gets under the timber floored houses where there is 400mm clearance (despite the code stating 600mm clearance required)
• Inspects at least the basics of roof plumbing, electrics, plumbing
• Has a thorough definition of defect particularly for post 1994 homes
• Has considerable experience inspecting houses of all ages

NOTE: Each myth states that there is no guarantee that you are going to have that particular item covered to your satisfaction by that person or authority.

Mark Whitby Retired Architect Building Consultant Author DEFECT
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FACING VBAG (See blog - comments / replies)

How do we get the message through to would-be new home owners and would-be new apartment owners... that many of them are potentially facing serious problems with their new homes if they do not take the necessary precautions and become better informed.

We would appreciate your thoughts prior to and at the next Think Tank meeting of VBAG. A while off yet... so now's the time for ideas... then we'll see you there.

Look at the mini blog we have started... in comments and replies. The Think Tank has started in earnest. Add your comment too.

A sample of the blog appears below (see comments and replies to comments)...

We need to cut to the quick and insist on the insurer being in charge and responsible for the builder-caused calamities that beset so many building consumers; so that they (the government or whatever) will have to pull the system(s) of registration together.

That needs to be our end target. Domestic Building Warranty Insurance has to be become the same as other insurances... 3 strikes and they're out... with higher premiums after 1 and 2 strikes.

And in the meantime, alternative professional (builder) indemnity insurance may be necessary until the governments see the light and actually do something that helps consumers..
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

ALERT... SANTA MAY BE IN GREAT DANGER!!!!.

If Santa has bought a mass produced acrylic-painted sleigh made of LOSP treated pine there would almost certainly be no more than a 24 month warranty certificate given to him.

That means that the paint-work would likely be an acrylic undercoat and two top coats, which under normal weathering forces of wind, sun & rain might last up to 7 years... but under load conditions with presents piled into the sleigh and buffeted by snow and hail, would likely start to powder and peel in under 3 years... so Santa might well re-paint it... but he probably doesn't know that acrylic paint breathes and allows moisture to enter and leave the timber!!....... But back to the purchase...

When people (including Santa and his helpers) hear the words treated pine, they would think CCA treated pine... which is pressure treated right through the timber... so it can't rot for years and years.

But when it is LOSP treated pine,the treatment is steam cured with a fungicide to a depth of approximately 5mm, leaving the core of the framing members just ordinary un-treated pine which rots fast... in approximately 3 - 4 years in exposed conditions... and then it becomes dangerous where not visible and not closely inspected.

LOSP manufacturers REQUIRE that the end grain of every cut portion of the timber is treated with a fungicide solution prior to installation... but this is rarely done... leaving the potential for vast numbers of potentially unsafe structures... especially timber framed decks and balconies and balustrades...

AND SANTA'S SLEIGH TOO.

So when the acrylic paint peels at 3 years old, moisture has already been entering the joints of Santa's sleigh... where the cut ends of the framing and boards are most likely not treated at all, let alone with the required special fungicide.

So the joints have already just about rotted at this stage... and just a year or two after the re-painting is complete, the core of the timbers at and around some of the joints, (and at nail or screw fixings too), can become a mushy mouldy mess, needing just a sharp twist or extra load to make the joint split and come apart. (LOSP steps are particularly prone to this splitting)

So Santa is very likely in great peril... and he could fall to his death... through the sleigh, beyond the grasp of his trusty reindeer... onto a house roof or onto the ground hundreds of metres below.

So please help get this message to Santa and all of the people with LOSP timber decks and balconies and balustrades, before a tragedy occurs.

Of course, extra care by those who cut the LOSP pine to ensure that no piece leaves the saw bench until it is end treated with the special fungicide solution would stop 90%(+) of the potential rot.

And painting the whole sleigh with oil-based primer over all fixings and joints would make even the other 10% of risk points safe, so that a reasonable life expectancy can be relied upon.

For decks, the fixings to the top edges of LOSP treated pine framing must pass through something which will seal around the fixings... something with a sufficient layer of bitumen in it would be adequate... but once again this is not done in the vast majority of decks out there... making nearly all of them potentially dangerous... that's correct... MOST LOSP TREATED PINE DECKS ARE POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS. This message is not stated by the building authorities and most building consultants because they have not gone to sufficient effort to find out all the facts from specifications... and as a result remain ignorant.

So take care all of you readers... and Santa... and we at VBAG hope you all have a happy Xmas and New Year.
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

 

Blog

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

The Truth Behind the ‘Consumer Protection Reform Strategy’

September 3, 2016

                        The Truth Behind the                        ‘Consumer Protection Reform Strategy’ Anne Paten in Sourceable 6 July 2015 109 shares 23 Comments https://sourceable.net/the-myth-and-reality-of-the-consumer-protection-reform-strategy/ After the damaging Auditor-General’s Report of 2011 and the Ombudsman’s Report of … Read more

melissa_bite
melissa_bite_2

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.