Owning a brand new home is for many a desirable stage in life, but when it turns into a leaky home because of poor workmanship, what are the options?
Dispute with the builder, what are the options?
Would you prefer buying a brand new home?
As I know most people would prefer buying a brand new home because it is under warranty, house and appliances are new—and for sure, more fun to live in, too. The expectation is low maintenance at least for the first 10 years, right? Wrong!
Purchasing a brand new home is for many a desirable stage in life, a feeling of satisfaction even by making sacrifices like higher costs per square meter and usually remote location with unsettled neighbourhood.
The idea that something could be wrong with a house is normally very remote. For what reason paying for builder’s guarantee. Unfortunately leaky homes stories are presenting a different view of people, in some cases who lost everything. As here illustrated - a couple driven to a breaking point because of the financial and emotional stress endured during the problem resolving process.
Consequentially changes to the building code were introduced in 1998, however in 2010 I made my own experience with a new built home that proved being externally and internally leaking.
Treated timber framing—the solution
The switch to treated framing timber, part of the changed building code, did not fix the roots of the problems and likewise steel framed buildings are also affected— only both materials last longer. In most cases, I have seen, the extensive damage to the fabric and structure of the house becomes visible when it is too late. From human standpoint such disasters are relationship killers, too.
Why would a brand new color steal roof leak?
It just an example. For a new house you would expect value for money, right? Imagine everything looks exactly as you it wanted. The roof panels go in one length from one side to the other – impossible that something could be wrong.
During winter little bit odour as been a surprise, no serious concerns until years later water marks showed up at wall and ceiling. Under warranty getting in the builder involved was easy. However (cutting a long story short) with water pressure test and investigations no problems have been found. That has been going on for 4 years, over long dry summers, no problems at all, possibly occupants fault not closing the sky-light properly or alike. True, a rented out property has its challenges.
Over the course of actions a lot of silicon around the skylight didn’t stop periodic ingress of water either. Not to mention the issues with insurance etc— I took over.
The leaking roof
No doubt, identifying the entry or penetration points of water is tricky as the water travels in all directions under wind pressure. Rain water is softer compared with water from the tap, the possibly reason why the pressure tests have failed. Also under the roof water travels and marks appeared where no one could come up with an explanation.
To deal with a mystery I started on top, where roofing sheets should prevent any water ingress.
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And here are the findings:
· Roof screwed without washers or seal (you can only see it by unscrewing)
· Accidental drilled holes not sealed
· Screws not tightened up
· Screws slanting, on one side the washer squeezed, on the other therefore with a gap
Obviously, losing confidence in a builder is the worst thing that can happen as the problems have not been fixed.
Dispute with the builder—what are the options?
Well, this article here is about tradesmen, quotes and disputes, but each case has its own specific. Giving the builder a chance to fix a problem under warranty is certainly the first and right step. If not satisfied or agreed something, and not willing to leave the tradesman off the hook, document any evidence, refer to relevant warranties and make a claim at
· Third party mediation, or
· Take the tradesman/builder to court
What act applies to the specific case and possible risks you need to take legal advice.
In my case I relinquished my rights for further claims and accepted an pay out on builder’s discretion.
TIPs to take away
Eventually your house will leak at some stage because of material fatigue, cracks, damage, etc. For those reasons a building must drain out any water ingress and ventilate the framework by design!