25 June 2015

Advice on fixing dodgy retaining wall

| Fenceline

Fellow Rioters, I am looking for some advice in relation to an issue I have with a well known Canberra Building company.

In short, the builder constructed two properties that share a common boundary, with one property have a site cut requiring a 800 high retaining wall to be built.

Within two years of construction both the retaining wall and the common boundary fence it supports are failing and structurally unsound. Repeated attempts to get the builder to address this have resulted in nothing.

The builders stated it is not their problem, as the fence was fine at handover, and to take it up with the fencer.

The fencing company also said is wasn’t their problem. They said the builder contracted them to build the fence and retaining wall and to do it on the cheap, and that we should take it up with them.

The builder then failed to respond to a letter from the solicitor that did the conveyancing on the building.

I have subsequently had an engineer provide a report on the wall and fence which supports the finding thats the retaining wall that was constructed was poorly engineered and substandard and not fit for its intended purpose.

Below is an excerpt from the report:

Findings: The observed fence / wall rotation is consistent with the fence post footings being inadequate to resist rotation due to the sustained active soil pressure behind the timber planking that has been placed between the fence posts to form a retaining wall.

I have been told anecdotally that ACT builders will commonly ignore these sorts of issues because they know they can get away with it.

Quotes to get the wall and fence repaired estimate it will cost between $15000 and $20,000

I have considered options with ACAT and ACTPLA building construction. ACAT will only deal with claims up to $10,000 and ACTPLA says the construction falls outside its power to enforce.

Aside from the builder to court, outing their work practices in public and damaging their reputation, I am hoping to find an alternative solution to bring them to the table.

Any advice / suggestions would be appreciated.
At this stage I’d prefer not to out either the builder or fencer as they are both still in business.


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