Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Private Pre-Plaster Inspection - Helpful insights

Our pre-plaster inspection was conducted today and it was comforting to hear that the build is looking quite good. Most of the items listed in the frame stage inspection report and defects list had been attended to. The exceptions were:

1. Concrete floor slab rectification: incomplete in some parts and unsatisfactory in other parts. Disappointing to have pointed out areas of the slab where the steel reinforcement is still exposed; areas where the slab is still ‘honeycombed’; and lengths along the slab where the soil has not been sufficiently cleared away to properly inspect the integrity of the slab. Further rectification works will be required.

 2. Engineering design issues: New Home Inspections rightly noted all design issues that varied from the engineering report. We had previously gone through this report with our SS. A few items noted have not been rectified as required based on the engineering report. Our SS gave us the reason for this, suggesting that many engineering reports are generic and over engineered, and that some items on the report were simply not necessary (eg using 2 TSX studs instead of the 3 recommended in the engineering report). Our SS went on to explain that the engineer confirmed in writing that the work completed was sufficient despite said work being different from that described in his original engineering report. We have been advised to obtain these written confirmations and will seek to obtain these from CG.

The other major area of concern is a hebel issue, similar to that experienced by other CG clients (js19 has made comments about this previously). In short, our understanding is this. Unlike bricks, hebel (aerated concrete) is porous. Therefore it is not advisable to but concrete or paving up against the hebel cladding. This would create a direct interaction between the two materials which would allow water to reach the hebel cladding. The alternative is to finish the concreting/paving beneath the hebel. Problem here is that this will then expose the bottom finish of the hebel panels and render and in many places, the damp proof course. This is very unsightly and really not satisfactory either. 

We had a good chat with our building inspector who suggested preferred methods to rectify this issue. These will be detailed in his report and we are hopeful CG will implement these suggestions immediately, especially since all their houses are built using hebel. Once again, our building inspector was really informative, knowledgable and clearly an advocate. We appreciated the time he spent on-site with us today describing his findings and explaining how best to address issues. 

We will let you know about the other items in the pre-plaster report once it is complete.

A quick side note. While on site today we also noticed that the insulation had been installed throughout the house; throughout the roof and also in all external walls. There were at least two places that were missed – above the master bedroom and along the entry passage near the laundry/study wall. These places, you could clearly see into the roof cavity above. They should be plugged up with insulation too, and we believe this will be an item in the pre-plaster report anyway.


  1. I wonder what the quality of CG built homes are like for those who never acquired the services of a private building inspectors. Do you think if you didn't hire someone privately to inspect your house would all these defects be rectified or will it be just considered non-existent?

    I find it disappointing that as customers we are the ones who needed to look after the quality control of the product that is being sold to us. I think we shouldn't have the need to hire someone to do something that the builder should have done in the first place. After all, they could have just incorporated to the total house price the extra $$$ to hire private inspectors at every stage completion for all their clients and ensure their homes are built properly and to standards.

  2. Before building, we knew we had to hire a private building inspector, since we didn't have a great deal of practical building experience. If a defect was never identified, I guess the reasonable assumption is that it would not be rectified. However, it would not be non-existent because at some point in the future certain aspects of the house would fail. This is what we are trying to prevent in paying for the services of a private inspector. It's a little bit like insurance and yes, for most people, it will be part of the cost of building.

    Where are you building and what stage are you at now?

    1. I'm building in the northern suburbs. I'm at frame stage. This is my second house. First one I didn't pay attention to construction and just let the builder did their thing. Now I decided to look into it more - I'm paying twice as much as I paid my 1st house - and finding it really disappointing. I guess a lot of people building their homes nowadays are basically thinking of selling the house in the future hence no need for looking into small details. I wanted this house I'm building now to last a lifetime - reason why I picked CG. As a mentioned before, in terms of construction, they are just the same as any other builder who just want to finish the job as soon as possible.

      I admire your persistence and dedication to detail. I think if it wasn't for you I will end up giving in very easily to them. Please keep posting.