Daniel Caruana of Danrae Group joins me to explain how the Design and Building Practitioners Act (NSW) is increasing costs and wait times for owners needing waterproofing work. We question whether legislation intended to apply to new buildings should be used to regulate remediation work in ageing buildings, and Daniel explains the role he believes owners can play in contributing to the proper maintenance of their waterproof membranes – with implications for their building insurance premiums.

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4 Responses

  1. Thanks Amanda for the information!I understand that we need New Buildings to be built to last from the beginning.If I understood correctly, the membrane will last only 30 years maximum. Can we trust the durability? Why can the membrane and building material be built to last?  And the workers do a proper job? Why is it so difficult to do it? If you remember my case, I took the NCAT for the Owners Corporation on our Strata Scheme to place a membrane on it. My biggest problem was Fair Trading so instead of having a Roof that could be in a better condition we pay for shonky work that is causing problems.Do I believe in the system?  No!
    Also if the gutters get blocked with all kind of rubbish, would not be better to place a gutter guard instead of a gutter cleaner cleaning the gutters walking on the tiles twice a year?
    Thanks again!!

    1. Hi Fernanda, I thought I’d make a comment. Every building has a life span and all the components inside and outside of a building have a lifespan and that all vary in time. A waterproofing membrane comes in all sorts of types at different costs, warranties and lifespan. The issue with construction at the moment is an appartment is designed with costs/profit in mind and a building warranty of 6 years. The issue most of the times is why would a builder pay for a membrane that lasts 30 years vs 10 years? This is where the problem lies. Only very few builders understand long term brand quality. The other issue is quality of trades. This is unfortunately the system that has been broken. Waterproofing trades have been under trained for years with a serious lack of knowledge of the industry. How do we take care of this now?

      1. Research who is doing the trade work? Are they licensed? Do they have home owners warranty insurance?

      2. Understand what’s being recommended? Do you know what membrane has been specified and it’s warranty and lifespan? What maintenance is required?

      With regards to gutters I totally agree with you. Trades should be adding value to your property not costing your more. I see not enough owners asking these questions of their trades.

      Hope that helps!

  2. Thanks Amanda and Daniel for a very informative discussion and clarifying some of the issues around waterproofing of balconies. You described the exact same issue we are facing in our 70’s built unit block of 8 where I have lived for 20 years! As advised by our strata managers we have employed a design practitioner to come and assess our problem and at quite a considerable cost. I feel we are now being pushed to do what I would consider more preventative, not remedial, work ie change balustrades, replace the sliding doors, replace adjoining walls which have not caused us any problems! the costs are just blowing out disproportionately.
    Daniel I’d very interested to know where I could find out more about the ruling that will come out of the talks between ACRA and the department in regard to these exact waterproofing issues?

    1. Hi Adriana

      Thanks for your comments. The issue your describing is common and it’s due to the design practitioner ensuring that the remedial works are fully compliant including any building element that is involved in the remedial work. ACRA are still working with the government on this however it’s primarily a work in progress. If there are any changes or new guidelines with regards to remediation there will likely be fact sheets that will further be released by Fair Trading. At the moment the industry will have to work with what has been put into place with regards to the DBPA.

      I know this doesn’t really help your situation with regards to costs however there can be options for example doors are often recommended to be replaced simply because the owners do not have records of the door ratings and specifications. The design practitioner will not risk reinstalling the existing doors because they may be non compliant now. If that information can be provided it may save you money, and there can be potentially options where the job can be removed without taking the door out, as long as the waterproofing installation can be installed to standards. Food for thought.

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