A "cowboy industry" characterised by rushed construction jobs and an insufficient compliance regime is leading to Shell Cove residents dealing with water gushing through windows and fence palings popping out of their brackets.
A design issue with the external facade of some homes in Shell Cove built by Frasers has seen a major review of all homes after a "significant number" of residences were impacted, including the majority of homes with light weight facades or low-pitched roofs.
*Ian moved into a newly built home on Harbour Boulevard in August 2020.
By late 2020 and early 2021, Ian began to notice defects in the new home.
The most dramatic occurred on a windy and stormy night, when Ian's wife noticed a damp patch on the floor in the bedroom.
Later that evening, *Jane filmed where the moisture was coming from.
"She called me up and said have a look at this," Ian said.
Via a crack in the top of the windowsill, water began running down the inside of the home, falling onto a power point, which blew the outlet's fuse.
The renters also found water running down the inside of their awning, causing a large swelling which eventually led to its collapse.
Faults in the fence palings also led to security concerns for the household.
"They didn't leave enough gaps in the wood, and then when it swells, it pops out," he said.
"You could just see straight into my backyard, because all the panels flew off."
Swelling in the garage also led to the door not closing.
"My garage has got tools and everything in there, anyone can just walk in and take whatever they want," Ian said.
While some of the defects were rectified, others remained until Ian moved out in August 2022, with the developer Frasers Property telling him that a long list of priority repairs meant his home had to wait.
Read more - Shell Cove building failures
UOW building industry expert Tillmann Boehme said a lack of skilled workers and financial pressures in the sector was leading to builders and subcontractors taking short cuts, in what he described as a "cowboy industry" with few consequences when builds go awry.
"You have the increases in [the cost of materials] but they're locked into contracts, and so they're looking for short cuts."
Dr Boehme said cheap materials combined with rushed installation created the potential for defects, and when this is replicated across an entire suburb it creates what has occurred in Shell Cove.
"You would have projects laid out so that one subcontractor would go from one job to the next," he said.
"If they have done it wrong in one way, they would just repeat the error across all of them."
But while NSW awaits the implementation of a permanent Building Commission, Dr Boehme said the onus needed to be put back on builders, rather than relying on agencies to chase up defects.
"The compliance officer is not on site all the time, they're coming when certain milestones are reached and a lot of what they're looking at is paperwork with limited physical assessment," he said.
"How big of a compliance apparatus do you have to set up? To monitor a lot more, it's not really that feasible."
Mr Boehme said extending statutory warranties for homes beyond 13 weeks would encourage builders to ensure defects don't occur, and to be responsible for fixing them when they do.
Ian, who no longer lives in Shell Cove, said he felt for the home-owners who would have to deal with the defects in their properties for years to come.
"They just keep ploughing on and these poor people don't get a result."
*Name has been withheld.
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