We have probably all experienced survey and setting out errors on our projects. These often result in structures and buildings being constructed in the wrong place, to the wrong dimensions or the incorrect level. These mistakes can be costly as either the structure has to be demolished and rebuilt correctly, or the structure or adjacent structures have to be modified to meet the client’s requirements. In addition there are delays to the schedule and the mistakes damage the construction company’s reputation.
However in this story the building company constructed a house on the wrong property.
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The builder now blames the water utility (Water Corporation) who they contracted to connect water to the property. Apparently water was connected to the wrong property. The builder looked for the property that had the water connection and then assumed this was the correct property and proceeded to build the house. Only when the house was almost complete was the problem discovered. Now the building company is suing the water utility for dereliction of duty because they connected the water to the wrong property.
An aspect of concern is that the builder obviously didn’t have any permits or permissions to build on that particular property. Without the proper permits they may have encountered and damaged underground services or possibly damaged environmentally sensitive areas.
One has to question where the client was during the construction process. The client should have either themselves, or through a nominated representative, have inspected the work to ensure the house was constructed in the correct position to the correct standards and specifications.
Unfortunately this is not the first case of houses being built on the wrong property, and no doubt it won’t be the last case. There are also many cases of structures being constructed in the wrong position, across property boundaries or the wrong way around. I’ve also heard of contractors carrying out repairs on the wrong property or installing items in the wrong building. All very costly and embarrassing mistakes!
There are a number of lessons from this:
1. Don’t assume the contractor who worked on the project before you performed the work correctly.
2. Double check all surveying and setting out before starting work. Obviously make sure you are at the correct property.
3. Because the building company has now decided to sue the water utility, with what seems to be a very spurious claim, the case has become very public. This mistake is very damaging for their reputation. Sometimes one should just accept your mistake, fix it, and move-on.
4. Clients shouldn’t always assume that construction companies know what they are doing.
Copyright 2016 - The attached articles cannot be reproduced for commercial purposes without the consent of the author.
The opinions expressed in the attached articles are those of the writer. It should be noted that projects are varied and different laws and restrictions apply which depend on the location of the contractor and the project. It's important that the reader uses the supplied information taking cognisance of their particular circumstances. The writer assumes no responsibility or liability for any loss of any kind arising from the reader using the information or advice contained herein.
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