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The ACT Building Industry. How do we seek redress?

By 7 December 2012 30

I had a bulldoze – rebuild exercise on our house about 8 years ago. Love the result – brilliant design, works magic.

However, it has become apparent that the quality of the cement render is appalling. Rust showing through, cracks everywhere, a couple of spots where we are waiting for it to arrive on the ground.

HIA cover the builders arse, so where do I go to get any recognition/assistance/remedial action on this disaster? Sure, its cosmetic, but it sure is ugly, and will require fixing before the place could ever be placed on the market.

The builder will remain nameless for now, but surely we could establish a system where this incompetence is rectified by the industy itself.

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30 Responses to The ACT Building Industry. How do we seek redress?
#1
enrique10:11 am, 07 Dec 12

*Disclaimer* I’m only speculating here…

Is there a clause in your contract that gives you the ability to have defects resolved? If so, what is the timeframe after practical completion in which you are able to do this (this known as the defects liability period and is usually 12 months)? Are you within that timeframe? What is the definition of ‘defect’ as per the contract? Does what you’re describing fit within that definition of a defect?

It could be that you are well within your rights from the contract point of view or it could be that what you’re asking for was never originally agreed to in the contract…

Stay professional and objective regardless of which side of the coin you end up on.

Best of luck.

#2
Wodgie10:44 am, 07 Dec 12

The fair trading website has some good strategies you can use before needing to contact the fair trading mob.
http://www.ors.act.gov.au/community/fair_trading/make_a_complaint_against_a_business_or_trader

#3
ezy10z10:56 am, 07 Dec 12

8 years ago…… and now it just need a bit of a touch up???
its called ‘property maintenance’…. every property needs it….
its idiots like you that make life difficult for everyone else.

#4
enrique1:23 pm, 07 Dec 12

ezy10z said :

8 years ago…… and now it just need a bit of a touch up???.

That’s a fair point actually, I overlooked the ’8 yeas ago’ bit on first reading.

Yep, the question is a bit strange. If it was within the first year or so the tradie might have something to answer for but after 8 years… well, you’re probably looking at fair wear and tear. Perhaps you go what you paid for? Perhaps the specific type and method of render that you paid for was only ever meant to last that long before requiring a touch up.

Once again, it all comes down to what was agreed to in your contract.

#5
PantsMan1:30 pm, 07 Dec 12

Mr Shane Rattenbury MLA

GPO Box 1020, Canberra, ACT 2601
rattenbury@act.gov.au

Phone: (02) 6205 0005
Fax: (02) 6205 0007

#6
Holden Caulfield1:48 pm, 07 Dec 12

I’m sorry to hear of your dodgy render, but 8 years ago, don’t make me laugh. Our runaway builder has done us out of a figure that may well sit on the wrong side of six figures by the time we’re finished, if we ever finish, and the MBA, ACTPLA and ACT Fair Trading didn’t give a s***!

The only person interested were the lawyers, naturally, but sadly we’re not in a position to take that path. We need every cent we can get to finish the project.

Besides, home warranty (as worthless as it is) expires after 7 years, so you’ll be fat out of luck I reckon.

#7
Madam Cholet2:33 pm, 07 Dec 12

Neighbour of ours had a shocking render job done on his property. It was evident from the get-go, so I’m not sure that 8 years is going to cut it for re-dress. His is getting worse though and it’s only 6 years old from memory.

However, it is s only what he deserved for all the times his builders woke us up at an ungodly hour for months on end and parked in stupid places in order to put the carbuncle on top of his house.

#8
GardeningGirl4:26 pm, 07 Dec 12

I don’t know what maintenance is required for render but rust and cracks sounds like it could be beyond that. If some sort of regular cleaning or minor touch-ups are required then shouldn’t the customer be informed of that so they can make an informed choice between render and plain brick (mind you I’m hearing worrying things about some modern styles of bricks too lately). Then if they choose render they know how to keep it looking its best and what is reasonable to expect from it perfomance-wise over the years. Sadly I think 8 years is pretty good going these days before you need major work done to a new house. We didn’t get close to halfway there before we needed to do renovations to put things right. Holden Caulfield, I’ve seen you mention your build before, I’m sorry you are still battling with that situation, best wishes to you.

#9
Spykler7:24 pm, 07 Dec 12

Forget MBA/HIA they are closely aligned with most of the major builders even though they are supposed to be the over-arching organisations that set rules/standards etc.. In a city of this size they all know each other well and a lot are close friends, appealing for help from the MBA was a dead end for us and indeed our confidence was broken when my builder recited a private conversation back to me verbatim that I had at the MBA office in Fyshwick.

#10
chilli7:29 pm, 07 Dec 12

ezy10z said :

8 years ago…… and now it just need a bit of a touch up???
its called ‘property maintenance’…. every property needs it….
its idiots like you that make life difficult for everyone else.

Rubbish. If render is done properly it should last decades – look at houses in Reid that were rendered in the 1920′s and still look good.

It seems more likely that cranky’s builder didn’t do the job properly to begin with.

But good luck getting any help with that.

#11
cranky8:43 pm, 07 Dec 12

chilli said :

ezy10z said :

8 years ago…… and now it just need a bit of a touch up???
its called ‘property maintenance’…. every property needs it….
its idiots like you that make life difficult for everyone else.

Rubbish. If render is done properly it should last decades – look at houses in Reid that were rendered in the 1920′s and still look good.

It seems more likely that cranky’s builder didn’t do the job properly to begin with.

But good luck getting any help with that.

Thank you Chilli.

I should have explained that these problems go back to day one. The builder did ‘fix’ the problem in the most serious spot, only for it to reappear virtually instantly.

A builder who has advised us was of the opinion that the builder/renderer were incompetent, and he would consider the degredation of the render to be similar to a 100 year old building.

But who do you turn to? As explained, the HIA/MBA only serve their members. I’m in no position to take anyone to court.

The bottom line is a render job that anyone would recognise as a shocker, and requiring remediation prior to any sale. I paid good money for this job, but apparently have no path short of legal action to have the builder correct this mess.

#12
gooterz9:41 pm, 07 Dec 12

You’d probably best off filing a dispute in the small claims court against the builder.

Warrenty is based on what is reasonable for the price you paid. If you paid for a cheap render you can’t expect more. If you paid the going price 8 years ago then you would expect the render made of concrete to last longer than the carpet. This applies to pretty much everything. (Go read the Trade practices Act 1979) It has a new name but very much the same.

I’d also contact Act fair trading office. They have an office in woden and usually require you to submit a request for action to the store. (Not 100% sure they cover building but it is a service and a contact).

Failing all of the above. Post around the internet quoting the builder and the dodgy work chances are they also did dodgy things to others and at least you could consolidate your attack, or find out what settlements the others got and possibly prevent others from falling victim to the same fate.

#13
Pork Hunt10:11 pm, 07 Dec 12

Madam Cholet said :

Neighbour of ours had a shocking render job done on his property. It was evident from the get-go, so I’m not sure that 8 years is going to cut it for re-dress. His is getting worse though and it’s only 6 years old from memory.

However, it is s only what he deserved for all the times his builders woke us up at an ungodly hour for months on end and parked in stupid places in order to put the carbuncle on top of his house.

If there are three words/phrases in the English language I hate, two of them are from the “get go”. The other is “straightaway”, alledgedly being the straight portion of a US race track.
They get on my nerves like finger nails down a blackboard.
I cannot express strongly enough in words how much they shit me to tears…

#14
Madam Cholet7:54 am, 08 Dec 12

Pork Hunt said :

Madam Cholet said :

Neighbour of ours had a shocking render job done on his property. It was evident from the get-go, so I’m not sure that 8 years is going to cut it for re-dress. His is getting worse though and it’s only 6 years old from memory.

However, it is s only what he deserved for all the times his builders woke us up at an ungodly hour for months on end and parked in stupid places in order to put the carbuncle on top of his house.

If there are three words/phrases in the English language I hate, two of them are from the “get go”. The other is “straightaway”, alledgedly being the straight portion of a US race track.
They get on my nerves like finger nails down a blackboard.
I cannot express strongly enough in words how much they shit me to tears…

Sorry.

‘going forward’, I will ‘pro-actively’ use less americansation and generally annoying phaseology in my posts in order that your ‘ass’ does not make you cry.

#15
gazket1:31 pm, 08 Dec 12

There are 2 types of concrete. Concrete that’s cracked and concrete that’s going to crack.

#16
poetix2:40 pm, 08 Dec 12

gazket said :

There are 2 types of concrete. Concrete that’s cracked and concrete that’s going to crack.

Just to get technical for a moment, there is also ‘wet’ concrete and ‘dry’ concrete.

#17
AsparagusSyndrome3:53 pm, 08 Dec 12

poetix said :

gazket said :

There are 2 types of concrete. Concrete that’s cracked and concrete that’s going to crack.

Just to get technical for a moment, there is also ‘wet’ concrete and ‘dry’ concrete.

And to get more technical, ‘wet’ concrete can be wet with water, or wet with goats’ milk.

To be honest, I don’t think today’s renderers use nearly enough goats’ milk, or bees’ wax or marble.

http://www.cccpolishedconcrete.com.au/history-of-polished-concrete

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrazzo

#18
el4:57 pm, 08 Dec 12

8 years? Sorry, you’ve got Buckley’s chance of getting anything.

#19
dpm5:28 pm, 08 Dec 12

poetix said :

gazket said :

There are 2 types of concrete. Concrete that’s cracked and concrete that’s going to crack.

Just to get technical for a moment, there is also ‘wet’ concrete and ‘dry’ concrete.

I think wet concrete comes under the ‘going to crack’ category!

#20
breda7:41 pm, 08 Dec 12

I suspect you may have missed the boat, if you have been having problems from the start and now 8 years later are seeking a remedy. It is obviously a crap job – as PP said, a proper rendering job should last many decades.

Short of suing them (very expensive and slow), unless you have been chasing them continually since the beginning you might just have to cop it.

ACT builders are crap – I would never buy a house less than 10 years old in this town. At least by then whatever is wrong with it will have become apparent.

#21
King_of_the_Muppets4:53 pm, 13 Dec 12

Sadly we are going to see a lot more of this.

The fact is – buildings move. Some more than others depending on so many vaiables. Many of these may be beyond the contractors control, growing trees, dying trees, change in soil conditions etc Sometimes these cracks may be the fault of the contractor due to poor execution or lazyness.

With such a trend for the crisp rendered box I forsee canberra streets being filled with cracking render. As unfastionable as face brick and timber cladding appear at the moment they both allow for more movement, hide the bulk of its effects and are easier to fix.

If a building contract has a defects liability period its generally 6-12 months for residential projects.

I would suggest contacting the builder and discussing it with them. I would suggest that they might be willing to work with you to resolve this one. With work hard to find at the moment reputation is very important.

I would also suggest that you let the builder remain nameless on this forum. I find the process of naming people very unfair given they cannot defend themselves and one negative comment can undo years of built reputation.

I would like to declare that I am not a contractor/or builder but am in the industry.

#22
rosscoact5:08 pm, 13 Dec 12

Madam Cholet said :

Pork Hunt said :

Madam Cholet said :

Neighbour of ours had a shocking render job done on his property. It was evident from the get-go, so I’m not sure that 8 years is going to cut it for re-dress. His is getting worse though and it’s only 6 years old from memory.

However, it is s only what he deserved for all the times his builders woke us up at an ungodly hour for months on end and parked in stupid places in order to put the carbuncle on top of his house.

If there are three words/phrases in the English language I hate, two of them are from the “get go”. The other is “straightaway”, alledgedly being the straight portion of a US race track.
They get on my nerves like finger nails down a blackboard.
I cannot express strongly enough in words how much they shit me to tears…

Sorry.

‘going forward’, I will ‘pro-actively’ use less americansation and generally annoying phaseology in my posts in order that your ‘ass’ does not make you cry.

If you had done that from the getgo we could have been zooming down the straightaway to the finish line.

#23
aevans8:17 am, 14 Dec 12

rosscoact said :

Madam Cholet said :

Pork Hunt said :

Madam Cholet said :

Neighbour of ours had a shocking render job done on his property. It was evident from the get-go, so I’m not sure that 8 years is going to cut it for re-dress. His is getting worse though and it’s only 6 years old from memory.

However, it is s only what he deserved for all the times his builders woke us up at an ungodly hour for months on end and parked in stupid places in order to put the carbuncle on top of his house.

If there are three words/phrases in the English language I hate, two of them are from the “get go”. The other is “straightaway”, alledgedly being the straight portion of a US race track.
They get on my nerves like finger nails down a blackboard.
I cannot express strongly enough in words how much they shit me to tears…

Sorry.

‘going forward’, I will ‘pro-actively’ use less americansation and generally annoying phaseology in my posts in order that your ‘ass’ does not make you cry.

If you had done that from the getgo we could have been zooming down the straightaway to the finish line.

This is really where the rubber hits the road.

#24
Holden Caulfield9:10 am, 14 Dec 12

Frankly, it’s a s*** industry riddled with thoughtless and selfish arseholes. Is it any wonder there’s so many shonky bastards?

#25
Alderney12:56 pm, 14 Dec 12

Madam Cholet said :

Pork Hunt said :

Madam Cholet said :

Neighbour of ours had a shocking render job done on his property. It was evident from the get-go, so I’m not sure that 8 years is going to cut it for re-dress. His is getting worse though and it’s only 6 years old from memory.

However, it is s only what he deserved for all the times his builders woke us up at an ungodly hour for months on end and parked in stupid places in order to put the carbuncle on top of his house.

If there are three words/phrases in the English language I hate, two of them are from the “get go”. The other is “straightaway”, alledgedly being the straight portion of a US race track.
They get on my nerves like finger nails down a blackboard.
I cannot express strongly enough in words how much they shit me to tears…

Sorry.

‘going forward’, I will ‘pro-actively’ use less americansation and generally annoying phaseology in my posts in order that your ‘ass’ does not make you cry.

If you’re going to Americanise your English, it’s Americanization.

#26
troll-sniffer2:21 pm, 14 Dec 12

Fifty bucks says you’d rather spend 50 hours on a pointless blame exercise and fruitless legal action than get off your butt and do some maintenance. It is quite possible that the job offered to the renderer was always going to be troublesome, if the underlying building, surface etc was unsuitable. Everyone’s an armchair expert when they weren’t there and didn’t actually do the job. Just as it’s possible that the tradie was incompetent, it’s also perfectly possible that he (or she) used the normal quality materials, applied them conscientiously and generally did a good job, and it’s the actual building and conditions that have led to your problem.

Anyway I still reckon that by whinging you’re on a hiding to nowhere, better to deal with the problem with some maintenance and get another eight years out of the plaster before the next owner of your house comes on here and whinges about your shoddy work.

#27
cranky5:37 pm, 14 Dec 12

Trolly,

I’m really sorry you got out of bed on that side this morning.

The construction was brand new. No possibility of previous defects. I’m talking render cracks about 3mm wide. Nope, that is beyond ‘maintenance’, The rest is ’100 year’ cracking, but in less than 8 years.

If we are comfortable with a domestic building here in Canberra having a ‘life’ of 80 years, and a motor vehicle having an 8 year life, would you be happy for the paint to fall off your new car after one year? With no comeback?

But where does one go to have a whinge? HIA and MBA consider their members to be blameless, so an ombudsman would be an excellent idea. Given the politics, I’d suggest there is no possibility of this office being created. Labor loves the money, Liberals protect their mates. (Check out how Smyth protected his lawyer mates income via CTP insurance).

The little guy is on a hiding to nothing given the way this town works!

#28
breda5:48 pm, 14 Dec 12

Old suburbs like Reid and Ainslie have plenty of rendered houses over 50 years old that clearly did not experience the problems that the OP’s house did.

Are you seriously suggesting that this is the OP’s fault?

#29
GardeningGirl10:10 pm, 14 Dec 12

breda said :

Old suburbs like Reid and Ainslie have plenty of rendered houses over 50 years old that clearly did not experience the problems that the OP’s house did.

Are you seriously suggesting that this is the OP’s fault?

+1

(Btw I can’t say why it might be so but I kinda like “get-go”, though on the other hand there’s plenty of expressions that are like finger nails down the blackboard to me too.)

#30
cranky6:11 pm, 15 Apr 13

An update.

Three problems, all as a result of incompetence.

One was the builder pouring a floor slab onto a double brick wall. A slip joint comprising two layers of a product described as “industrial alfoil’ should have been installed between the bricks and the slab to allow for movement. A total fail for the certifier overlooking this.

Second was using galvanised edge stripping to corners. This stuff rusted like crazy, allowing water to enter the brick/render joint, causing enormous damage to the brick/render bond.

Third, the builder used the cheapest bricks available. These have a smooth face. and the renderer should have used an adhesion promoting coating to the brick surface prior to rendering. But that costs, dosn’t it?

The result is a large area of render jackhammered off (not a real problem – most of it has very low adhesion) to be re-rendered by a professional.

I’d love to have some recognition that the Certifier, builder and renderer were less than competent, and for Govco to put compensation methods in operation.

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