Commentary regarding the inadequacy of newly constructed buildings is ongoing – often due to a lack of adherence to Building Codes and Australian Standards.
So what is the message behind this issue?
Archicentre Australia director – Peter Georgiev suggests, “If there is a serious and simple suggestion to be made, State Governments – who are responsible for administering the procurement of buildings – should make access to all Australian Standards free to any registered builder, trades person, architect, engineer or building surveyor – as this subsidy will be a small price to pay compared with costly remediation – and insurance companies will love it”.
“Along with concerns about the behaviour of Banks, tightening of mortgage conditions and dropping valuations in property, the matter of shortcomings in newly constructed buildings is a crowning problem for people – be they owner occupiers or investors” he says.
“Much has been made of the issue of flammable cladding systems and Archicentre Australia has previously provided commentary on this important problem” he adds, amongst a conversation describing a range of other building defects on which Archicentre Australia commonly reports.
Since at least the 1990’s, volume built houses – often built on “waffle pod slab” footings systems and founded on reactive or inadequately compacted sites – continue to be built.
Matters of defective waterproofing to bathrooms and balconies in single homes and apartments are amongst the more insidious and embedded defects that come up time after time.
Peter Georgiev explains that there are some areas of ‘low hanging fruit’ that regulators and Governments could act upon, not least the fact that in seeking to enforce building standards, the cost of procuring Australian Standards remains prohibitive.
“The pragmatics of what decisions are made on a building site is often dictated by what the wisdom is amongst trades people on a particular day in the construction process” he says.
As an example he describes shortcomings in the waterproofing and tiling of balconies – involving inappropriate materials & poorly executed workmanship – and where meticulous attention to detail & installation of quality materials is essential to ensure a durable long term waterproof balcony.
“Inferior quality membranes can and do deteriorate over time, particularly if they cannot withstand ‘water ponding’ due to a flat (level) balcony substrate. Typically concrete balconies are constructed with a flat substrate & a graded cement screed placed on top. This is not ideal as water/moisture that penetrates through the tiling/screed to the balcony membrane can pond on the surface of the membrane leading to deterioration of the membrane over time.” he explains.
Then he points out that the cost of procuring Australian Standard AS 4654.1-2012 “Waterproofing Membranes for External above Ground Use – Materials” which classifies membranes according to their elongation properties being Class 1, 2 or 3 membranes with class 3 having the greatest elasticity, is a reason why many installations occur without the benefit of this basic information, resulting in important decisions being made on the basis of uninformed habit or cost.
For more information go to www.archicentreaustralia.com.au
This media release has been written and distributed by:
Peter Georgiev, Director
Level 1, 9 Strathalbyn Street,
Kew East, VICTORIA, 3102
Phone: 1300 13 45 13 | 03 9859 9950
Please contact Archicentre Australia for further information about this release or to arrange an interview.