This Q&A article about dealing with defects from water leaks in WA has been supplied by David Clark, Houspect WA.
Question: My unit was impacted by water leaks following a major storm a few years ago and now has many defects. I’m not sure how to go about getting this fixed.
My block of units has had an ongoing water leakage problem which was verified in writing by our previous strata management company. My unit was specifically identified as being impacted by the water leak following a major storm a few years ago and now has many defects. The units are only 6 years old.
These are the problems I am dealing with in the apartment at the moment. This list has been compiled in a property inspection:
- A large part of the render on the wall bordering the property has fallen off. The damaged section faces the inside of my unit.
- Part of the backyard is sinking away and quite a large gap is forming between the flooring of the alfresco and lawn. This seems to be where the water is entering and flooding under the building.
- Even though the inside of the garage storage has been waterproofed, rising damp is forming indicating the waterproofing/sealing is not effective and water is still sitting behind the wall.
- Water pools outside the ensuite shower screen and this has caused damage to the door frame. Seals on the bottom of the shower screen appear to be missing.
- There is a watermark on the ceiling indicating a leak in the roof.
- Cracks are evident between the walls and the ceiling in the bedroom.
- When the window is closed completely there is still a gap and breeze that comes through in the bedroom.
I’m not sure where to go from here. Can you direct me on the best action to take to fix these defects which have been caused by water leaks?
Answer: First of all, review your strata plan and clearly establish where the Lot boundaries are.
You have raised a number of issues which would be difficult to respond in this forum. However, some general comments for you to consider include:
- It is important that you review your strata plan and clearly establish where the Lot boundaries are. This will enable to define which of the issues are Lot issues which you can to progress directly with the builder and which are Strata Company issues which the Strata Company/Strata Manager must progress with the builder. It is important that “the owner” of the property progresses the issue with the builder or if required the WA Building Commission.
- You can personally progress your Lot property defect issues directly with the Builder.
- The Strata company must progress common property defect issues (even the common property issues directly associated with your Lot) with the Builder. You should table these issue with the Council of Owners or at the next AGM to progress or rally support and progress.
- Suggest you also review the recently released WA Guide to Standards and Tolerances. This will provide you with some information on what is acceptable construction work and what is not.
- On occasion, a commercial overlay needs to be considered. At some point it may not be worth pursuing the builder, it may simply be cheaper to engage an alternative contractor to remediate defects. The pros and cons of each option need to be constantly evaluated.
- A quality Building Inspector should be able to advise you and or the Strata Company on how to progress.
- Finally, it important to understand that in WA builders have a statutory liability for construction defects for at least 6 years.
This post appears in Strata News #307.
Have a question about defects from water leaks or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.
Please note this advice was provided prior to the proclamation of the new strata title amendments and will be updated in due course.
- If It Has a Balcony, It Will Leak
- WA: Assisting a New Strata Company Dealing With Construction Defects
Looking for strata information concerning your state? For state-specific strata information, try here.