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Builder issues in Canberra? Who do I turn to?

By MightyJoe - 12 November 2013 32

Hi all,

Thought i’d post up here to ascertain who i need to talk to.

Background:

Found builder in September 2012 selling a house and land package.  in November 2012 deposit paid and construction started (in earnest) in Feb 2013.

House was finished in late July 2013 with final inspection undertaken on 3 August 2013, with Cert of Occu issued 5 Aug 2013 and final payment paid.  Occupied house 7 August.

Now, issue is:  In final inspection a whole number of defects were identified and email to builder advising that wanted them fixed.  the issues are not major non-liveable defects but minor pesky (but still important).

Example

  • Portico was not finished and to this day isn’t.  (3.5 mths later)
  • large hole left in laundry ceiling and recently made bigger by builder as he removed the manhole, plus a numpty has cracked the ceiling too.
  • Painting defects (fixed)
  • Garage door painted on, marked
  • sumps not installed
  • water tank not installed
  • security / intercom not installed
  • marks on a sliding door (i.e. cleaners scratched the crap out of it)
  • Plumbing fit off items require attention i.e. the toilet seems to be the s***test quality and doesn’t work properly
  • site was not cleared as per contract
  • AC not working properly, i.e. cold spots and thermostat seems to live in its own world

and a few other things.  Now, every tradesman that has worked on my house, when I contact them state that they haven’t been paid by the builder and are refusing to work on any defects. I call the builder at least once a week and most times leave a message and don’t get a call back. Only get a call back after the third or fourth day after one more call.

Who can I turn to progress this?  lawyer – what type?  My conveyancer doesn’t want to hear from me as he invested too much time when buying the house (worst contract ever).

ACAT? Mafia?

The items above add up into the thousands (the ceiling i had quoted at 1k to fix and paint last week) and to be honest, we are finding it tough going with what we have at the moment let alone paying for all this crap out of my pocket (again).

What’s Your opinion?


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32 Responses to
Builder issues in Canberra? Who do I turn to?
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Suki 7:32 pm 07 Sep 15

Hi Mighty Joe

Sounds like I have the same builder, my experiences are incredibly similar. How did you go in the end with getting the defects remedied?

water_lily 9:20 am 30 Nov 13

I am going through a similar experience. My builder will not answer any emails or phone calls. It is six months past completion date and the house is unfinished. He doesn’t want to complete the job and has now wired a huge fence around my block. Noone can get in, and he won’t even let any tradesmen in. I have paid all progress payments due. He was never on site and made lots of mistakes (wrong showers installed, bathrooms painted wrong colour, wrong door handles installed, wrong solar hot water system installed) and has then had to rectify those mistakes. I would be happy to get a certificate of occupancy, but it’s like pulling teeth. Some of the builders tradesmen have called to say they haven’t been paid. Actpla was not helpful. We had mediation with the MBA after builder refused to do any more work after I found out he had installed incorrect solar hot water system. Contract stipulated a Solahart; he installed a Dux. MBA did try to help, but builder won’t honour his undertaking even to them. The ACT needs legislation like the Victorian domestic building act to protect consumers from bad builders. You are not allowed to withhold final payment for what is considered to be minor defects. If the house has reached ‘practical completion’ you have to pay, otherwise you are in breach of the contract. You did the right thing. Many builders don’t bother coming back to fix their mistakes. If it’s only a matter of a few thousand, let it go and get it done yourself. If it is more, you may need legal advice. Email me at lucianah@grapevine.com.au and I can give you same names.

Mayumi_ACTGovt 4:10 pm 14 Nov 13

Hi MightyJoe – we might be able to help with some of the issues raised, especially around potential non-compliance of development or building approvals. Can you call us (Investigations Unit) on 62073022? We are the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate of ACT Govt.

If you want to initiate an investigation you will need to complete a complaint form. A number of your issues appear to be contractual and so you may wish to seek independent advice about the possibility of making an application to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

woodman 7:10 am 14 Nov 13

Write the builder a letter. Send it to him and send it to his registered company address.
Outline every issue you have and what adoptions you consider fair for repair or replacement.
Look at this guide

http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/Tenants_and_home_owners/Home_building_and_renovating/The_building_process/Guide_to_standards_and_tolerances.page

and refer to it if need be. Also research building codes etc and refer to them.
No point getting MBA HIA and ACTPLA involved. They won’t do anything to help you.

The builders subbies will not go back as they haven’t been paid which shows that the builder doesn’t care about anyone but himself.

Give the builder a reasonable time frame to get things fixed. Advise him if he doesn’t that you will follow through with ACAT (if under 10k).

Then follow through with your threats. Before lodging with ACAT get quoted on how much everything will cost so you are prepared when you do go.

By the sounds of your builders attitude it looks as like ACAT is the only possible outcome.

Good luck

arrrr 11:24 pm 13 Nov 13

the water tank is probably specified on the plans to satisfy Water sensitive urban design WSUD requirements. Actpla might make some calls to builder/certifier if they hear that a certifier is signing off on jobs that arnt meeting the rules.

ezy10z 11:02 am 13 Nov 13

zorro29 said :

ezy10z said :

Your builder is an idiot. He clearly hasn’t discussed the maintenance period with his subbies. My subbies all know that if they don’t attend to maintenance issues they wont be receiving any more work. Its unfortunate that this has fallen back on you. Keep fighting it! And definitely spread the word. Scumbags like this should be put out of business

if only more were like you 🙂 sadly not the case for a lot of people

My thoughts exactly 😀

zorro29 10:49 am 13 Nov 13

ezy10z said :

Your builder is an idiot. He clearly hasn’t discussed the maintenance period with his subbies. My subbies all know that if they don’t attend to maintenance issues they wont be receiving any more work. Its unfortunate that this has fallen back on you. Keep fighting it! And definitely spread the word. Scumbags like this should be put out of business

if only more were like you 🙂 sadly not the case for a lot of people

ezy10z 10:37 am 13 Nov 13

Your builder is an idiot. He clearly hasn’t discussed the maintenance period with his subbies. My subbies all know that if they don’t attend to maintenance issues they wont be receiving any more work. Its unfortunate that this has fallen back on you. Keep fighting it! And definitely spread the word. Scumbags like this should be put out of business

MightyJoe 10:10 am 13 Nov 13

All issues were documented before final payment was made and a running list of issues is emailed when either a month passes or an issue is added or removed.

My contract stated that final payment was due when the house was ‘practically’ complete. this does not been 100% compelte, but at a stage where the premises is basically finished, can be lived in and satifies prerequisites of obtaining the Certificate of Occupancy.

My contract stated a 120 maintenance period, and he has advised that I have 120 days to find issues, but that date doesn’t mean he has to fix within that period.

My problem is that how long do I need to wait for him to fix the issues? I still don’t have a fixed ceiling, I still have water issues as there are no sumps and my place still has intercomm / security etc

The garage door received a ‘mural’ as the painter (although he professes that it wasn’t him) painted the rendering in the middle of winter with fog and overall shitty weather. the paint has run, dripped all over the door and onto the concrete. he’s then wiped all his brushes on the side of the house (as he was cleaning them) and stained the brick work. He then had the hide to day it wasn’t him and its probably rendering concrete etc

Contacted lawyer and getting more quotes for outstanding items.

ezy10z said :

Affirmative Action Man said :

Why on earth would you make the final payment unless you are completely happy with the final inspection !!!

It doesn’t work like that. No final payment, no handover. But your builder has to give you your 90 day maintenance period, and if hes not a f#@$wit he will honor that.

As long as you’ve got these maintenance issues documented within the 90 days you shouldn’t have any problems if you decide to take it to small claims.

ezy10z 8:59 am 13 Nov 13

Affirmative Action Man said :

Why on earth would you make the final payment unless you are completely happy with the final inspection !!!

It doesn’t work like that. No final payment, no handover. But your builder has to give you your 90 day maintenance period, and if hes not a f#@$wit he will honor that.

As long as you’ve got these maintenance issues documented within the 90 days you shouldn’t have any problems if you decide to take it to small claims.

astrojax 8:47 am 13 Nov 13

i rekkun you had the idea in the op – mafia.

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