Are You Buying Bricks And Mortar? Or Styrofoam And Glue?


When it comes to building materials, there should be no substitute for quality, should there? But unfortunately, there is. And as an owner builder, you need to know about it, because it can put you and your family in serious danger, as well as legal trouble.

An increasing prevalence of imported, sub-standard building products is wreaking havoc across Australia and New Zealand. These inferior products – many of which have been imported from China – include plasterboard, exterior cladding material, steel, and asbestos-riddled building products.

From the shonky to the lethal

Sub-standard plasterboard is a particular concern for Australian builders and has already created a multi-billion-dollar liability problem in the US. According to reports, the product emits volatile toxic and flammable gasses, causing damage to metal, galvanised nails and truss supports, and electrical equipment.

Exterior cladding, which is supposed to be fireproof, is another serious issue, with over half of the 170 new high-rise buildings in Victoria failing to meet specifications.

You’d think that the Asian steel imported for infrastructure projects in Australia and New Zealand would have the quality seal of approval, but it has actually been found to be too brittle or weak to use. Thankfully, imminent disaster was avoided through safety testing before it was used.

And as if all this weren’t enough, a number of building products from China have been found to contain asbestos.

It’s your call – and your responsibility

Before taking on any project as an owner builder, it’s vital that you source safe, high-quality building materials that will meet specifications, and not cause harm.

Under the Building Act, you as an owner builder are responsible for ensuring all building materials used are of good quality and suitable for their purpose. If they’re not, then you must rectify the problem, or your warranty insurance will be invalid.

While it may be tempting to source cheaper products, remember that quality is more important than price. Otherwise, that cheaper product could end up costing you a lot more than you bargained for.

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