Shoddy building practices, the use of inappropriate materials and the rush to complete construction to maximise revenue have contributed to the crisis in Melbourne’s residential construction industry, according to Archicentre Australia director Peter Georgiev.

The problem is particularly prevalent in recently built apartment blocks, a number of which have become unliveable owing to the presence of mould caused by poor building materials and bad workmanship, lack of ventilation and lifestyle habits.

Peter Georgiev said Archicentre Australia had long been an advisor to people with mouldy buildings and apartments were particularly susceptible.

“The excuses for poor workmanship and the use of inferior materials, such as combustible cladding, are more often than not the need to save costs and to get buildings up hastily but it is the investors and residents who end up suffering.

“These practices meant that apartments could become dangerous or even unliveable within a relatively short time frame, perhaps less than 10 years.”

He said while these practices should not be allowed, there were measures that apartment occupants could take to ease the risk of mould and fungus.

“Modern apartments have little or no fixed ventilation in order to provide thermal performance measures. Concrete panel walls used in many apartment blocks also provide poor thermal performance – enhancing temperature differentials.

“Many occupants keep windows shut at all times and don’t use dry heat sources, which causes condensation to build up.

“Owing to work hours and weekend recreational pursuits many occupants use apartments as ‘crash pads’, for sleeping only, with little use during the day. It is also common practice to dry clothes in the apartment without opening windows.

“Modern apartments often lack effective mechanical ventilation to atmosphere from bathrooms/laundries and lack dry heat sources in these service rooms.”

All of these factors contributed to mould growth, Peter Georgiev said, with curtains, carpets, clothing and bedding becoming a source for retention of moisture.

“Without attention, and no treatment, no ventilation, no dry heat source, the mould flourishes, creating a risk to health and eventually rendering the apartment unliveable.”

The Architect’s Advisory Service was also concerned that the rigour of detailing was often avoided by builders and developers, he said, allowing so-called expert trades to decide on the means of detailing, for example with waterproofing of balconies.

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This media release has been written and distributed by:

Archicentre Australia

Peter Georgiev, Director

Level 1, 9 Strathalbyn Street,

Kew East, VICTORIA, 3102

Phone: 1300 13 45 13 | 03 9859 9950