Construction Defect Reports In Newly Constructed Apartment Buildings

ceiling mold

When apartment buildings are first constructed, if designed correctly, they can look amazing. Gone are the days of the soviet style “government blocks”, instead they are being replaced with lush looking sky palaces in most places in Sydney and Melbourne. With property at such a premium every investor is looking to get top dollar per square cm. If the design isn’t eye-catching, has construction defect issues, doesn’t have great access, and sexy appeal, then the investment value drops dramatically. 

There is a dark side however, the underbelly of the Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane construction circuit. With money, often comes increased regulation. Some of which is praisably appropriate, like in the passing of the workplace safety legislation Act 2011, which dramatically improved working conditions for construction workers. With an increase in legislation, comes its shady cousin, the underground network of people who will do a job cheaper, but cut the required corners. 

ceiling mold

So what construction defect do you have to watch out for with your newly constructed apartment? How should the Strata approach a contract which has been finalised? 

  1. – First thing to do is a visual inspection of your apartment yourself. Take a few photos of suspicious-looking finishing. 
  1. – Get an expert remedial builder in and get a report written up, get them to comb through the place.
  1. – Get the strata on board with a defect report written from a remedial builder as well. Make sure that the remedial builder is a third party, so that they are not influenced by direct relationship to the primary contractor.
  1. – Do not source the cheapest, though cheapest isn’t necessarily the worst, a lot of times there is a reason someone will do something cheaper, and this usually has to do with the underbelly of the construction world. Find a contractor which has a good reputation in the industry for doing good construction defect detection & remedial building work. Often companies that have done tier 2 and especially tier 1 work will do the best job. They will be the most expensive, but they will also have the strongest paperwork in the event of any legal proceedings, also their discovery process will have the right people to diagnose any issues. 

What are some red flags in newly constructed apartment blocks?


waterproofing construction defect

When waterproofing isn’t properly executed, then it can cause some of the most costly damage to a building. Also if the drainage isn’t placed correctly, and the angle on the flooring pointing in the right direction then water can collect over time, even under the tiles and degrade the flooring. We’ve seen some newly constructed apartments having to get the entirety of the tiles replaced because of waterproofing issues. 

  1. 1. Tiling quality and state, is the groundwork good, are there any dampness issues during rain, and are there any pools of water forming in corners?
  1. 2. Flooring, is it timber? Are there any dampness issues? Any buckling or puffing up of timber after rain?
  1. 3. Any swelling in the bathroom or kitchen cabinets, laundry? These can be good places to look because the wood used often in these areas absorbs the water fast, and a new kitchen isn’t cheap.
  1. 4. Mold forming is a sure sign of damp issues, check the cornice on the ceiling and the corners around the rooms, inside of closets. You can also place a damp rid in different areas to see how much moisture there is in the air, if it seems excessive then there could be problems. The reason we check both on the flooring and ceiling is because while the waterproofing might be fine in your apartment, the apartment above might have issues, or the community areas might be the cause of the problems.
  1. 5. Check for any bubbling of paint, or any discolouration in the ceiling gyprock. This is a sure sign of excessive dampness, and might be a symptom of more serious construction issues.
  1. 6. Check for any sagging in the gyprock around the complex common areas, and also in your own apartment.
  1. 7. Any leakage issues from planter boxes where common area foliage is as costs associated with these kinds of issues can cause serious issues with the whole of the complex.
ceiling mold construction defect
ceiling sagging

Cracks/Concrete Structural Issues

  1. 1. Check for any cracking on walls or ceilings, this is a sign of the concrete or brickwork being placed under stress, and without any expert remedial builder properly investigating the issue the primary contractor might just come in and patch the cracks with some filler and tell you all is well. These are quite serious, as failure in these structural elements is not as apparent, and many less honest building contractors will play the gamble hoping that the 7 years warranty on the build wears out before a real investigation occurs. In these instances a smart dishonest contractor will be more than obliging to send in renders and plasters to patch any of these “visual” issues, and appear to be more than cooperative.
  1. 2. Any discolouration in the concrete and cracking on the concrete that has been poured can indicate that the concrete was poured under poor weather conditions, and was not allowed to harden at the correct rate and in correct moisture conditions. These kind of fissures and cracks on a constructed and finished building cannot just be fixed by any old external contractor, but these works need to be engaged by the appropriately qualified and insured experts (A remedial builder). 
  1. 3. Sagging on walkways, or flooring is a good sign of incorrect methodology in the construction process, this has to do with poor formwork, concrete mix, timing, and many other factors. This sagging could also be an indication that there are more serious issues than just the pour, it could have to do with post tension cables being incorrectly installed (this is especially true of large slabs). To diagnose these kinds of issues special equipment is needed to scan the slabs and locate the location of the cabling. This kind of repair work is also extremely dangerous and needs the appropriately qualified and insured company.
brickwork cracks construction defect
concrete crack construction defect
post tension slab blow out
sagging walkway

There are many more to cover, but these are some of the main issues to look for, and this doesn’t just apply to new constructions but any existing construction. If you have any questions about your apartment complex, and especially if you are a member of a strata, or managing a building, then don’t hesitate to get in contact with our team at, we have a highly professional team here, dealing with tier 1 and 2 projects, and our report process is both painless and enlightening. We hold confidentiality in the highest regards. 2011 work health and safety act insurance requirements for Victoria Fairtrading NSW insurance requirements Service NSW check for builder/tradesperson licence