Great paint job to rectify bad paint job

16 Mar

Jamie and his son from Affinity Painting Solutions in Gordonvale just completed painting the interior of our house, plus the verandah ceilings. They did a great job. Jamie made some recommendations about using gloss on the doors, architraves, and verandah ceiling. That alone is an improvement. Jamie showed up on time, worked on a daily schedule, then came back and fixed up the few spots we found. A tradie in Cairns who shows up on schedule and completes the work on schedule is unfortunately not as common as it should be.
After 3 and a half years, our house needed painting. The verandah ceilings were the worst. Jamie explained that it was due to Ash Moseley Homes using the wrong material there (Villaboard instead of the standard wet area plasterboard). Villaboard is rigid so there are big ugly cracks along the joints. Jamie fixed it the best he could, but said the cracks will be back in 3 months.
Jamie also said our builder, Ash Moseley Homes, did not fill the gap around the windows. Even though it was not part of his quote, Jamie took the time to file the gaps. It is wonderful to see a tradie who takes pride in his work and does the right thing by his customer.
We had some work done by a plasterer at the same time. We needed to re-position a manhole in the powder room. It was put just under a beam by Ash Moseley Homes, which meant we could not access anything from it. So we had it moved a bit, and now it is useful. The plasterers were so unreliable. The first one never showed up as promised. The second plasterer had a worker do the structural work, and leave a mess for the next worker the next day. Every day was a different excuse and a different promise. And we had to live with the mess. Finally, a week later, the plaster came to complete the work. And that stretched over 3 days as they did not have the right putty or the right cornice.
QBCC should tell the Cairns tradies to show up on time. And work out all the materials needed and take that to the job. It seems so basic to me, and just good business, yet too many of the tradies operate in a haphazard fashion.

If you need a painter in Cairns call Jamie at 0409 486 339. When I find a great tradie, I want to tell everyone. Good workmanship and reliability should be rewarded.

Right to Information is your friend when dealing with QBCC

1 Mar

You can request all the documents and records relating to your complaint using Right to Information. The process is quick and easy. It may cost you nothing, or about $45. You can download the form from http://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/right-information-application, and then email it to QBCC.

I just got some very useful information on my last complaint, information which the QBCC inspector did not tell us. The inspector, Heath Bussell, emailed Grant Wilkinson who is the QBCC Senior Plumbing Investigator for Plumbing and Pools, requesting information on our sewage holding tank. In our complaint, we stated that the lid was not fit for purpose, as the port was in the centre instead of over the pumps, and was not removable without an excavator. We had an aluminium lid made so that we could have maintenance performed on our pumps.

Grant Wilkinson wrote “… covers .. must avoid the likelihood of root penetration, entry of ground water and entry of insects. The joints between tank components i.e. walls and lid, shall have a durable seal, be watertight..”. Heath Bussell had written that he did not think the original lid was sealed (it was not). In fact, as Ash Moseley Homes sited the tank in the path of water flowing to the adjacent seasonal creek, ground water goes into the tank during heavy rains. This has contributed to several raw sewage spills. Insects were in the holding tank: it was full of cockroaches. So disgusting.

Additionally Grant Wilkinson wrote that a ladder is required for tanks over 1.2 meters in depth. Our tank is about 2 meters deep and Ash Moseley Homes did not provide a ladder. Heath Bussell did not see fit to pass this important health, safety, and legal requirement on to us.

Heath Bussell decided to override the opinion of the QBCC expert on plumbing, and determine that “there was insufficient evidence to reveal any obvious defective construction practices by Moseley Holdings Pty Ltd …”. It causes us to wonder why Heath Bussell would make this determination, knowing the original lid was not sealed but was legally required to be sealed.

I am thankful for Right to Information. This is too late to appeal Heath Bussell’s decision but I will make enquiries at QBCC.

It occurs to me that QBCC should have homeowner advocates accompany the inspectors and make the determinations. It is my perception that the inspectors are often builders’ advocates (and mates and colleagues), so we homeowners need a way to balance the scale and get determinations that are more consistently fair to us.

Acacia Plumbing uses plastic cable ties in rectification

15 Feb

Acacia Plumbing, the Ash Moseley Homes plumbing subcontractor, had to rectify shonky work on our sewage holding tank. Last week, they replaced the rusted, disintegrating guide rails designed for indoor use only with stainless steel guide rails. It would have saved us a lot of time and a sewage spill had Acacia Plumbing spent a few hundred dollars more and bought the proper materials when it did the work. We reckon that Acacia Plumbing wanted to save some money, and figured that no one would notice until the warranty was up.
But Acacia Plumbing, even under request from QBCC, can’t help themselves. They still had to use some shoddy materials. It is in its nature. To secure the very heavy chain, which holds a heavy pump, Acacia Plumbing used cheap plastic cable ties. See photo. I doubt that it will last a year.
Is it worth our spending hundreds of hours chasing Ash Moseley Homes and Acacia Plumbing to get the plastic cable ties replaced with proper stainless steel shackles? No. We will fix it ourselves, along with the broken floats and wrongly positioned control box. Contractors know what they can get away with.Acacia Plumbing uses cable ties

QBCC tries to quash free speech

13 Feb

I just got an emailed letter from the QBCC Director of Legal Services, Tania Carvalho. Ms Carvalho directed me to remove reference to a QBCC employee Heath Bussell from my blog within 48 hours, and to not post the names of any QBCC employees on social media in the future. Wow.

Was I suddenly transported to Russia or China? The governments there censor social media posts as a matter of course. If QBCC had its way, QBCC would be able censor social media posts. Truly astonishing.

Letter from QBCC Director of Legal Service

There are a lot of shonky builders and construction work out there. I know. I am a victim of it. QBCC should be allocating 100% of its time to policing construction work, not social media.

QBCC inspector is also licensed builder

13 Feb

Heath Bussell was the inspector on a recent complaint of ours. I wondered about his bias, since Mr Bussell breached published QBCC policy in order to not give a Direction to Rectify to Ash Moseley Homes for the latest defect that we discovered at our house. What was Heath Bussell’s motive? We know that inspectors and builders are often mates. Cairns is not a large city, and there are frequent meetings where the men in the industry get together.

There is a licensed builder in Cairns, Heath Bussell Builder. Could this be the QBCC inspector? I checked on the Heath Bussell Builder license information on the QBCC web site. The license address is 181 AUMULLER STREET WESTCOURT QLD 4870. Google Maps showed that as the address for QBCC Cairns.

Ash Moseley Homes has 4 Directions to Rectify on its record. That is terrible, since it averages 2 houses a year. I know that if Heath Bussell had observed QBCC policy, Ash Moseley Homes would have had 5 Directions on its record.

It is a common phenomenon for regulatory agencies to become advocates for the group that it is regulating. It is known a regulatory capture. In this situation, there are organised builders groups which lobby QBCC. Individuals move from the regulated group to the regulator. Here, Heath Bussell is part of both at the same time. The interests of individual homeowners become secondary to the interests of the builders. We homeowners do not have an organisation to counter Master Builders and HIA, nor are we likely to be longstanding mates of the inspectors. So it should come as no surprise when the QBCC inspectors favour the builders.

Update: I have received a letter from QBCC advising me that its buildings inspectors are required to be licensed builders, and that it is appropriate for Heath Bussell to use the QBCC address for his building license address.

Latest defect causes sewage spill into creek to Coral Sea

5 Feb

The current defect under complaint with QBCC is rusted and disintegrating guide rails in the sewer holding tank. On 11/11/15, Ash Moseley Homes replied that the matter was “owner maintenance” and that 5 years had passed. We are bewildered by the 5 year excuse. In Queensland, builders are responsible for structural defects for 6.5 years.
The pump manufacturer states that typically galvanised steel or stainless steel guide rails are to be used. The pluming parts store expert told me that he recommends only stainless steel guide rails be used in this tropical environment.
What did our hapless plumber, Acacia Plumbing, use? Partially galvanized rails whose documentation states “for indoor use only in a non-corrosive environment”. The plumber told the QBCC inspector that he installs these tanks “all the time”. Looks like a lot of people in Cairns will have a problem.
We cannot put back on one of the two pumps which was taken out for maintenance. The floats and remaining pump, sitting on completely rusted rails, cannot function as designed. So my husband must go down to the tank and manually operate the pump daily. Over Christmas, with 100+mils of rain, water flowed into the sewer tank. The builder sited it in the path of water flowing to the adjacent seasonal creek. So we had a raw sewage spill into the seasonal creek, which flows into the Coral Sea, about one kilometre away.
Our builder has yet to drive the 10 minutes from his office to look at the problem. QBCC has stated it is a defect, and inspector Heath Bussell issued a Request to Rectify. QBCC policy states an inspector must issue a Direction to Rectify unless there is a question whether the builder is responsible for the defect. Heath Bussell agreed that the plumber used the wrong materials for the job. So why did he violate QBCC policy? Good question. There is a builder in the Cairns area with an active license Heath Bussell Builder. Could this be a case of mates looking out for mates?
We are outraged by the situation. QBCC has worked at a leisurely pace, taking just over 3 weeks to write a brief inspection report. I have had to chase QBCC at every point. And this for a matter involving a raw sewage spill into the Coral Sea, with possible future spills during our wet season. We have spent hundreds of hours chasing the builder, filing a complaint, chasing QBCC, sending emails, running the pump manually, and checking on the tank daily. All so the plumber could save a few dollars when he bought the substandard materials.
Not only do we not receive compensation for our time, we have yet to receive an apology for the material substitution. Par for the course for victims of Ash Moseley Homes.

This should be stainless steel

This should be stainless steel

Ash Moseley Homes’ workers give me the middle finger

14 Apr

Today there are 3 workers here. I think one chippie, Luke, is an employee of AMH. Peter, the tiler, is a subcontractor. And there is Dave, who we were told is the AMH quality control person. They are here for rectification work after we filed yet another complaint with QBCC regarding water leaks from our roof and other defects. Peter was unhappy that I was taking photos of them. So he and Dave stood side by side, facing me, with their middle fingers up and thrust toward me. It was obscene.

This is Ash Moseley Homes, whose slogan is “Excellence in Building”, making obscene and abusive gestures to me, a 60 year old woman standing by myself. I never expected it. I find it shocking and abusive. Additionally Peter pushed his body up against mine and put his face in my face in an apparent effort to intimidate me. I told him to stop abusing me, Dave told him to stop it, and he moved away from me.

Dave told me that he, personally, is a consultant to Aquis. I wonder if Aquis likes defects, and obscene gestures. If so, they will be happy with Dave as the quality control person.

In February 2014, Ash Mosley promised us a written statement of work before the commencement of rectification work. We want details as to the tasks to be completed, materials to be used, areas of our house affected, and how long it will take. Of course we were not provided it. The email from AMH last week stated that the tiler would be on site, and “our tradespeople will look at the Colourbond flashing and associated issues”.

Dave and Luke have sanded the retaining wall by the car park. In answer to my questions, they told me that they would be painting it with the material “in the bucket over there”. I read the label on the bucket. It is AcraShield. I asked Luke how many coats would be applied. He said “I don’t know. I haven’t read the label yet”.

What poor planning these workers demonstrate. They have had to leave multiple times to get materials and tools that they forgot. They cannot tell me how long the tasks will take. There is absolutely zero consideration for us and what we have planned. We have to rearrange our lives to suit AMH rectification works.

Ash Moseley Homes and its workers are incompetence in action with a sprinkling of abuse and obscenity.

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