Archicentre Australia has joined a chorus of concern about faulty building practices being adopted in Victoria’s residential construction industry, particularly in rapidly growing areas of Melbourne.

As the Architect’s Advisory Service it says these practices, which in many cases represent danger to human life, are synonymous with the throw away building syndrome of the 21st century.

Archicentre Australia director Peter Georgiev said this syndrome went hand-in-hand with the ‘throwaway society’ tag used to illustrate how many household appliances and other everyday products were now designed to be used for a finite period of time and then discarded when they no longer worked, rather than being repaired.

“This tag is often used rather light-heartedly but is no laughing matter when it comes to housing,” he warned.

He considers that inferior materials and shoddy workmanship used in many new builds, including apartment blocks were often perceived by the development industry to be more economic – saving on costs with new and untested materials and to get buildings up hastily.

However, these practices meant that houses and apartments could become dangerous or even unliveable within a relatively short time frame, perhaps less than 5-10 years. Many of these new builds would go nowhere near outliving their owners.

“Archicentre Australia frequently advises consumers on the shortcomings of multi-unit developments and volume built ‘products’,” he said.

“One of the underlying issues is the use of partial architectural services where the rigour of detailing is avoided by builders and developers. This allows so-called expert trades to decide on the means of detailing, for example waterproofing of decks and balconies.

“Another issue is that builder-based building contracts allow the builder to be at once the ‘builder’ and the ‘building expert’. This translates to there being no independent assessor on matters of quality or when payments to builders are made,” Peter Georgiev added.

“On larger scale projects the traditional caretaker role of an architect administering a building contract between owner and builder has been replaced – supposedly for efficiency – by “novation” – a current flavour of the development industry including government and semi-government bodies. For many people the term is confusing – and it is – unless you are a part of the development industry,” he said.

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This media release has been written and distributed by:

Archicentre Australia

Peter Georgiev


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