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    How do I know if my home has been built properly?

How do I know if my home has been built properly?

At the front of mind for the majority of homeowners entering into any building project, is the question of how to know whether the works they have started have been built with care, are within specifications and comply with the rules and regulations and have ultimately been built properly.

It is important to understand the process, stages, checks and requirements each build goes through and we’ve put together some information to help explain the process and the different stakeholders involved and their key role in your build;

These can be broken down as follows:

  1. Principal Certifying Authority (PCA);
  2. Engineer;
  3. Builder;
  4. Quality Assurance Program;
  5. Certificates;
  6. Defect Period.
  7. Statutory Warranty Period

Principal Certifying Authority (PCA)
A Principal Certifier is engaged to carry out mandatory inspections associated with a build during the construction process. They are there to ensure the structure is completed in accordance with the approved consent (DA/CC or CDC), as well as to check compliance with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) requirements

Generally for a second storey addition, the mandatory inspections that the Certifier will undertake during the build may look like this:
– After excavation for and prior to the placement of any footings
– Prior to pouring any in-situ reinforced concrete building element
– Prior to covering of the framework for any floor, wall, roof, or other building element
– Prior to covering waterproofing in any wet areas
– Prior to covering any stormwater drainage connections
– After the building work has been completed & prior to any Occupation Certificate being issued in relation to the building

Upon completion of mandatory inspections, completion of all works associated with the approval and final documents/certificates provided, an Occupation Certificate will be issued.

A structural design plan is generally prepared by registered professional engineers, and, are based on information provided by the architectural drawings. They provide details for how a building or other structure will be built.
It is not uncommon for engineering revisions to occur during the build following onsite inspections by the engineer and consultation with the project manager. The engineer is there to confirm that the structure has been built in accordance with his plans and certifies the overall structural adequacy of the build. This certificate is provided to the Certifier.

Inspections undertaken by engineers may look like this;
– Prior to pouring any in-situ reinforced concrete building element
– Prior to covering of the framework for any floor, wall, roof, or other building element
– Prior to covering any stormwater drainage connections (if required – based upon the hydraulic design)

The role of the builder is to interpret the architectural drawings, structural drawings, surveys plan and all approved documentation and construct the building in accordance with these. The builder will then coordinate, schedule and oversee the multiple skilled trades to undertake each component of the build and then liaise and coordinate the inspections with the engineer and certifier during the build at critical stages to confirm compliance with the BCA and that the build is structurally sound.

There are multiple trades, suppliers and deliveries to be managed by your builder during a build. To name a few of the trades that would work on your home; carpenters, plasterers, concreters, brick layers, plumbers, welders, electricians, waterproofers, roofers, tilers, labourers, cabinet makers, showerscreen installers, glaziers, staircase installers, painters, flooring installers, insulation installers, asbestos removalists, air conditioning installers, renderers.

Your builder should be able to provide you with a copy of the timeline of your build but don’t be alarmed if dates change during your build with certain items – this is normal, given the multiple trades and deliveries happening! As long as your builder is within your contract period, you only need to focus on your finish date and ensuring that any materials you have to supply are onsite by the date communicated to you. Should you have any concerns with your finish date being on track, just reach out to your builder and their team for clarification. They are there to help.

Quality Assurance Program
As you can see the roles of the builder, engineer and Certifier do a lot to ensure your build is completed in compliance with the BCA and the approved plans, sometimes, it can be easy to overlook the minor items during the build and this is where our quality assurance program steps in. As an additional check across all of our builds, we arrange for an independent building inspector to complete a progress inspection at the Lock up and Rough in stage and a final inspection pre-handover.
This is an added layer of reassurance for us and our clients to ensure you are receiving the highest quality build.

Following Practical Completion, certificates are provided to the certifier.
These are from the individual trades to certify their work has been completed in compliance with the Australian Standards.
Certificates required but not limited to:
– Engineering structural adequacy certificate
– Waterproofing certificate for each wet area
– Insulation certificate
– Glazing certificate
– Electricians CCEW certificate
– Smoke alarm certificate
– Plumbing certificate of compliance

Defect Period
Upon completion of your build and reaching Practical Completion, you will have a 13 week minor maintenance period. This is for the builder to attend to minor defects that would have been listed during your Practical Completion walkthrough but don’t prevent you from moving into your new space.

What happens when your defect period ends?
There are statutory warranties on your build.
This means that should any issue arise with the works on your home, you may reach out to your builder and make a claim; within six years for major defects and within two years for other defects from the date of completion.

By providing photos and videos to the builder, they can then investigate and determine whether it relates to the builder/contractor’s workmanship and attend to the defect for you. Industry guidance materials like the Fair Trading Standards and Tolerances guide can assist in determining a defect.

Dispute Resolution
Open communication with your builder goes a long way to easily resolving defects without the need to take legal action. Generally, if a builder and/or the owner are concerned with defects at the home, the builder may arrange an independent inspection with an engineer or building inspector, this then allows an impartial view and you can then discuss any concerns with your builder to work with you on. Alternatively, if there is a communication breakdown, either you or the Builder can formally request for Fair Trading to assist in dispute resolution and in most cases the Inspector will arrange to meet with you and the builder on-site to inspect the work under dispute and act as a mediator and issue an order of rectification if it’s required. If your builder is no longer operating, then you can submit a claim through your Home Warranty.