Waterproofing and Apartments in Canberra

ainsliebraddon 8 December 2010 7

I understand that this is an issue that has been discussed before, and the ABC published a story on it earlier in the year (http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/05/21/2905906.htm).

My apartment has developed a leak where water appears to be coming up from somewhere and seriously drenching the carpet (I live on the ground floor and the wall where the leak is sits right up against a garden bed).

The body corporate sent someone out who reckoned it was the seal between the window and the frame and water is leaking in from there.

I am not convinced. I have been told that often some tradies will fob things like this off because it is a nightmare dealing with body corporates. Given the huge issues waterproofing can cause, I am after a second opinion.

My problem is who to turn to? A carpenter? A plumber? Are there such things as waterproofing experts?

Any guidance would be awesome.

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7 Responses to Waterproofing and Apartments in Canberra
Institute Institute 3:55 pm 08 Dec 10

Put in an insurance claim for your carpets and other fixtures through the building insurance policy held by the body corporate. That should prompt some action.

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 3:38 pm 08 Dec 10

Private certifiers are a big part of the problem.

I’d be going back to the Body Corp if the problem isn’t resolved, and keep hassling them.

54-11 54-11 3:24 pm 08 Dec 10

Far too many apartment builders in this city are incompetent, particularly when it comes to waterproofing.

They’ve been getting away with for a long time because a) it hasn’t rained for so long, b) their industry bodies have been protecting them, particularly MBA, HIA and PCA, and c) the body that’s supposed to protect people, ACTPLA (aka ACTDAA, the Development Approval Authority) does nothing about shoddy building.

fozzy fozzy 2:45 pm 08 Dec 10

Interesting timing, last night I attended a Body Corporate meeting to inform us of the state of repairs in our complex. Some things which might translate to you:

1. This is a Body Corporate issue not one for you personally to deal with (you deal with it via the Body Corporate fees you pay). As I’ve heard it described (in the NSW context), anything outside the paint of your apartment, e.g. the walls, is the responsibility of the Body Corporate.

2. Most (if not all) apartments in Canberra are poorly constructed and have these sorts of problems. The various bodies are starting to realise how big a problem this is and moves are (slowly) afoot to address it. So you’re not alone my any means.

3. Builders tend to be fairly gung-ho about fixing things. If you/your Body Corporate are going to get it fixed, get the repairer to do a small test first to prove their solution will work. Even to the point of getting the step by step work instructions developed for how work is to be repaired – builders seem to be very bad at following instructions and often what they think will fix it doesn’t.

4. You are best to talk to the ACT Owners Corporation Network (http://web.ocnact.org.au/). This is the peak body for Body Corporates in the ACT and was setup to address these sorts of issues. They are the ones really pushing the ACT Government, Property Council, Master Builders to lift their game. The people I know involved in the OCN have a lot of experience on these matters.

Hope these tips help. I’m lucky that my complex has good people sorting these issues out and in the end we should have a good outcome. I wish you all the best!

[I’ve intentionally left this vague so as not to be disparage any particular complex or builder]

Peewee Slasher Peewee Slasher 2:41 pm 08 Dec 10

There are waterproofing services out there. The key is to find out what they plan to do to rectify the situation. Some are a bit quick and might not do the best job.

gladbag gladbag 1:41 pm 08 Dec 10

We had the same issue in our ground floor apartment in a brand new block. The garden bed had no waterproofing and when it rained lots, water started leaking into the apartment. The developers emptied out the bed, waterproofed the garden bed, however, did a shoddy job and a few months later on needed to do this again. In the meantime the buildup of moisture in the walls was so great, the carpets and the beds of the occupants needed to be replaced, as well as the walls fixed up. Maybe get them to check the garden bed.

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